Bayanouni: We Withdraw from Front Because we Back Palestinian Resistance
Ikhwanweb holds this interview with the London-based Ali Sadriddin Bayanouni, the general observer of the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot in Syria . He talks about the groups decision to call it quits from the National salvation front, Damascus Declaration, and his views towards regional and international changes. Mr. Bayanouni held this interview on April, 6th, 2009.
Ikhwanweb: First of all, why have you withdrawn from the National Salvation Front?
Bayanouni: During the 3-year period of relation with the National Salvation Front, there emerged some differences in views, attitudes and statements issued by some parties of the front, especially concerning the Islamic movement, and the resistance platform in Palestine . It reached its peak with the direct cause when we issued statement in which we declared our support to the Palestinian resistance during the barbaric Israeli aggression on Gaza . We called on the group”s members supporters and friends everywhere to offer any support they can to our brothers in besieged Gaza We also suspended our opposition activities to save effort for the key battle. We also called on the Syrian regime to give credibility to the slogan of rejection through reconciliating with people and removing all obstacles that may prevent Syria- a government and people- from carrying out its sacred duty of liberating the occupied territories and supporting Palestinian resisting brothers. The General Secretariat of the front saw this as a violation to the coalition”s charter although we offered a memo in which we explained our attitude and the reasons for it, but we didn”t manage to persuade other parties of the front of recognizing our organizational privacy in the context of honouring commitments of the Arab and Islamic platform.
Ikhwanweb: Assess the front”s performance during this three year participation in it?
Bayanouni: The National Salvation Front constituted another vehicle of national work abroad. It was one of the most important political fronts speaking in the name of Syrian opposition. We can not say that the front has managed to achieve the proposed targets but worked despite physical obstacles for achieving some possible steps.
Ikhwanweb: Is the withdrawal related with the group”s initiative of stopping opposing the Syrian regime during the war on Gaza and the talk about a Turkish mediation between you and the Syrian regime?
Bayanouni: I said above that the group”s suspension of its opposition activities, and that some parties of the front didn”t understand this attitude, seeing it as a violation to the front”s charter, were the direct causes of the group”s withdrawal from the front. As for the talk about Turkish, Iranian and Muslim Brotherhood mediations, this isn”t true and we explained this in several previous statements.
Ikhwanweb: Don”t you see that this withdrawal may be to the benefit of the Syrian regime and weakening opposition especially under your weak role in Damascus Declaration?
Bayanouni: Every political action has multi dimension reflections. When taking a decision becomes necessary and when ending this relation is more beneficial than maintaining it, the one must take a decision even if it is “a difficult decision” like what we did in the withdrawal statement.
As for the talk about our weak role in Damascus Declaration, I”d like to say that we are founding members in Damascus Declaration but the enforced law of sentencing any Muslim Brotherhood member to death makes it difficult for us to activate our role in activities of Damascus Declaration. Also, Damascus Declaration is facing tough times because most of its leaders are detained. However, we still have the abilities that enable us to go ahead in our national agenda with cooperation and coordination with all opposition parties. Withdrawing from the front does not mean stopping cooperation and coordination.
Ikhwanweb: How do you see the future of the Syrian opposition under this state of disintegration?
Bayanouni: Due to the lack of political life and political parties in for a long ago, the Syrian opposition is not restricted to these organizational bodies at home and abroad. The Syrian opposition consists also of these broad popular bases that practically grow and move to curb tyranny and corruption. Thus, we may be optimistic that the future is for a peaceful opposition that may reach a democratic peaceful change when the first real democratic chance comes.
Ikhwanweb: What are the group”s mechanisms in dealing with the special international changes in the region and the reported US- Iranian closer relationship which will in turn have an effect on the Syrian US relation?
Bayanouni: We have a national reform and change platform in an Islamic and Arab context. We have reiterated that our platform- in this context- can never be a part of any foreign agenda. We refuse any form of foreign intervention. This is a national and religious constant and principle for us. However, this does not prevent us from declaring our views through a cultural dialogue with the other, to end the century-long stereotyped image portrayed about Islam and Islamists.
Ikhwanweb: What is your comment on the decision of Mohammed Mahdi Akef, the Muslim Brotherhood Chairman, of not seeking another term as Muslim Brotherhood chief? Does other Muslim Brotherhood offshoots work for fielding their candidates for the post.?
Bayanouni: This issue is related to Egypt “s Muslim Brotherhood and the group”s Executive Office. We don”t have any say in this. I wish Allah help them do what is beneficial to Muslims and Islamic mission.