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Workshop on Islamists Future in Arab Parliaments
Workshop on Islamists Future in Arab Parliaments
A workshop entitled " Future of Islamic movements in Arab Parliaments " was held in Cairo on Mondy Jan, 14thm 2008, by One World Society and the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
Tuesday, January 15,2008 14:10
by Duaa Abdul Raouf IkhwanWeb

A workshop entitled " Future of Islamic movements in Arab Parliaments " was held in Cairo on Mondy Jan, 14thm 2008, by One World Society and the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

The workshop, held in the Pyramisa hotel in the Egyptian capital Cairo, started with an opening speech by Dr. Ahmed Kamal Abul Magd, the vice-Chairman of Egypt"s National Human Rights Council (NHRC), in which he linked the Islamic movements" wins in Arab parliaments to the dominating culture in their societies of lacking transparency. This led to making Islamic groups, according to him, to hide behind general concepts that prevent others from getting acquainted with their real targets .

In his speech, Dr. Mohamed Al Katatni, the chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) parliamentary bloc, confirmed that the closeness between the Muslim Brotherhood and people led the MB wins in 2005 elections .

Al Katatni said the persecutions facing Islamists all over the world and putting them on the spotlight are key reasons that pushed the Islamists to take part in the political life. He said also that gaining public sympathy led to their success in the political experience in general in Palestine, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt and Yemen .

It was clear that the appearance of the Islamic movement ended the government"s monopoly of the political action. This appeared in Egypt in 2004 with the emergence of the Kifaya (Enough) and in 2005 parliamentary elections. Since then, the Islamist boogeyman was created by the government to be an excuse for its repeated crackdowns.

He added that the parliamentary experience 2005 was not their first experience in the political life. There was the student movement, and the union movement which were followed by the parliamentary experience that started in 1984 experience which the group went through in cooperation with Wafd Party.

He also highlighted the public meetings between MB parliamentarians and publics through the formers" offices which reached 300 offices all over Egypt.

For his part, Sayyed Yassin. Advisor, Al Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies, launched a sharp attack against the Muslim Brotherhood accusing the group of planning to establish an Islamic state to be ruled by mullahs, like the Wilayat al-Faqih system which is applied in Iran.

Yassin described the Muslim Brotherhood as " an extremist movement that plans to establish a religious state to be ruled by clerics and that it does not represent moderate Islam.

Dr. Osama Al-Ghazali Harb, the deputy leader of the Democratic Front, said in his speech that the political Islam phenomenon experienced many developments especially after the Muslim Brotherhood took part in the political action and its candidates won seats in the People"s Assembly, as the group got engaged in a public work instead of the underground work.

Harb expected that the phenomenon of political Islam and that Islamic tide disappears and retreats when the dictatorial and totalitarian rule ends, because the Islamic movement takes its driving force from the repressive campaigns that dictatorial rule exercises.

Montaser Al Zayyat, the lawyer of the Islamic groups, rejected in his speech exclusion attempts exercised by some intellectuals against Islamic movements and demanded them give a chance to these movements to develop themselves.

He added that the Islamic movement accepts the concept of a civil state and rejects a religious state and accepts the constitution as a source of authority and accepts the principle of citizenship.

Montaser pointed out that the Islamic movement has achieved a considerable presence in several Arab parliaments, that these different Arab experiences offered an acceptable discourse. He also considered their experience as better than that the Islamic groups that adopted violence, lost and led to maintaining the emergency law that had a passive effect in the political life in Egypt.

Negad El Boraie the chairman of the Group for Democratic Development said in a paper which presented to the seminar that the Islamists deal with the parliament according to "the rule of the compelled", and that they garnered a considerable number of seats in Arab parliaments through exploiting the US adoption of the democratization and its pressures on Arab rulers allowing them to give vent to their views and easing tensions against US interests.

However, El Boraie sees also that the Islamists presence in Arab parliaments gave a kind of political vitality on discussions and contributed to enriching the state of political competition, although their effect remained limited due to the hegemony of the executive authority over the legislative authority, and because they don"t have a sufficient experience to deal with different parliamentary situations, according to him.

Wahid Abdul Magid, the vice-chairman of Al-Ahram Center for political and strategic studies sees that there is a clear link between the rise of Islamic movements to as an experience, not in the traditional type like the party experience.

Abd Al-Majid attributed the rise of the Islamic movement in Arab parliaments to the lacking a secular movement that presents a clear political thought, while "most traditional political powers accepted the Islamic agenda, leading to lacking a sufficient pressure on Islamic movements to forge more Ijtihad " .

Regarding his expectations about the future of the Islamic movements in Egypt, he ruled out any possible change in the parliamentary political map citing the retreat of the Islamic experience in Jordanian parliament, and he expected that the phenomenon may recede in the future. He also underscored political reform that forces Islamic movements to do more development.

Dr. Ahmed Thabet, a professor of political sciences at Cairo University presented a paper in which he showed a noticeable activity carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood MPs, as they used in the last parliament round more than 4668 supervisory tools including interrogations, urgent statements, written questions, suggestions and bills.

Also, Mohamed Hussein editor-in-chief of barlman.com, confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood MPs who account for 20 % of the total number of MPs submitted more than 50 % of the supervisory tools in parliament, pointing out that they did not adopt the policy of " fishing for mistakes " for MPs affiliated to the Ruling Party and they managed to focus their attention on discussing general issues.

For his part, Amr Hamzawy, a researcher at the Carnegie institute in the United States said told Aljazeera.net that there are two problems that prevent the emergence of an efficient performance for Islamic movements in Arab parliaments, the first is "the authoritative context" that confines them to a ceremonial participation in the public life in general and in the parliamentary life in particular.

The second problem is, according to Hamzawi, that the Islamic movements hasn"t settled the form of their relation with the other, whether this other is the regime or other political powers, citing the fact that these movements can"t build coalitions with other opposition powers.

Posted in Islamic Issues , Activites , Islamic Movements , Reform Issues  
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