- InterviewsMB News
- December 18, 2009
- 8 minutes read
Dr. Mahmoud Ezzat in a comprehensive interview with Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Mansur
Ezzat: Difference of opinion only proves that the Muslim Brotherhood movement practice true democracy.
Dr. Mahmoud Ezzat, Secretary-General of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a comprehensive interview with Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Mansour ascertained that the Muslim Brotherhood’s elections for Chairman scheduled to be held in the upcoming period by members of the Guidance Bureau is open to everyone who wishes to submit his nomination papers as a candidate.
In his statement to the talk show Bila Hedood (Without Borders) on Al-Jazeera TV, Ezzat explained that nomination papers generally should not be used for the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidates but rather a complete list of the entire Brotherhood’s 100-member Shura Council is presented to elect the Brotherhood’s Chairman and Guidance Bureau. He denied that the Brotherhood’s General Guide to leadership of the General Shura Council does not allow him the freedom to work on his own in making his final decision. He also revealed that the Council has the authority to hold the Chairman accountable for any failure and if the need arises dismiss him at any time.
He stressed that the movement is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to practice the principle of Shura (consultation) within the ranks of, pointing out that the Shura Council will elect the Chairman and a new Guidance Bureau in the upcoming year.
He commented on the Media coverage of what really happened behind the scenes at the Guidance Bureau, citing that the committee which consisted of leading figures such as Dr. Essam el-Erian and a number of the Guidance Bureau members responsible for printing the Chairman’s weekly statement objected to Mr. Mahdi Akef’s wish a trifle difference of opinion. Akef’s first term will end on January 13, 2010 however he has announced earlier; he will still make a decision whether he will remain in office for a second term as the group’s general guide.
He continued that the 81-year old Akef had informed members of the Guidance Bureau earlier that he intended to resign and will not serve for a second term. Members of the Bureau immediately responded urging him to remain in office.
In his weekly message, Mahdi Akef vaguely referred to his intentions of not running a second term and thanking the Muslim Brotherhood and members of the Guidance Bureau who shared with him the responsibility as if he intended it to be his farewell speech. On Sunday, October 17 the media claimed that the Chairman of the Brotherhood had announced his resignation; however the Chairman has repeatedly denied media allegations where he came to the office the next day and met with members. He later issued a statement disclosing the truth. Media allegations on the Guidance Bureau’s unwillingness to appoint Dr. Essam el-Erian are totally false.
Dr. Mahmoud Ezzat ascertained that the movement is pleased to provide an opportunity to members to share their opinions, stressing it is a manifestation of power matching with its existing large size and leading role, indicating that Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood is very pleased to do so.
He stressed that all issues come back to the Guidance Office for the final decision where its resolutions are binding and satisfactory to all, regardless of the differences in opinion.
“I do not underestimate what has happened already or I’d simply say there is no crisis, at the same time, we should not blow things out of its context, we are determined to apply the principle of Shura”, he added.
It was discussed earlier at the subsequent meeting of the Guidance Bureau that the group’s Shura Council has the sole right to elect membership of the Guidance Bureau to any member, he explained. Dr. Essam himself agreed that it was not suitable to appoint a new member in the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau since the election was near.
Ezzat stated that the episode was presented to the Shura Council on the recommendation of the guidance office amid frequent arrests and detentions waged by state security. We strive hard to involve the Shura Council to choose the next Chairman and members of the Guidance Office. It is expected the whole matter be resolved, Allah’s willing, before January 13.
It was decided at this meeting by the Chairman and members of the MB Guidance Bureau to send a letter to the Shura Council, stressing that the date for these elections will not be later than sixth months. It was assumed that the proceedings would be conducted prior to or during elections in which 5 new members were elected last year. It is the Shura Council’s decision and not the MB Guidance Bureau. Consequently, the general group’s Shura Council finally reached its unanimous decision of holding elections as soon as possible.
He stressed that the Muslim Brotherhood, with the enforcement of the Shura is organized by its internal regulations. Regulations which are adopted and advocated by laws of the Shura Council and are subject to change. The most recent amendment underway with one of its clauses is the duration of the term of a member of the Guidance Office provides that a member must not serve more than two consecutive terms.
Some members of the Guidance Office were accused of their adherence to stay in office for many years; Dr. Ezzat claimed that frequent arrests which did not exclude any one the Executive Bureau prompted us to modify another article in the internal Regulation that provides a member maintain his membership even if he was detained. The absence of the honorable working for the welfare of their country and the sublime mission led us to insist on them maintaining their membership. Engineer Khayrat Al-Shater will remain as second deputy chairman of the MB and Dr. Mohammed Ali Bishr a member of the MB Executive Bureau. It is expected Bishr will be released next month.
Dr. Mahmoud Ezzat completely denied rumors about internal conflicts within the opposition group with regards to leadership, stressing that the mechanisms, regulations and terms are paving the way to select the movement’s leaders. He also noted that Egypt’s geographical situation and considerable moral weight within the Muslim world justifies the need for the MB Chairman to be Egyptian.
“The Guidance Office is currently exploring the general tendency of the Brotherhood’s 100-member Shura Council with regards to nominating a suitable candidate eligible to take charge as Chairman”, he said.
“It is extremely difficult to predict who will be the next chairman, noting that 5 minutes ahead of appointing Mr. Akef as Chairman nobody knew, the ballots only decided who would be the new leader”, he said.
Dr. Mahmoud Ezzat attributed the Media’s apparent conflicting reports on their allegations towards remarks about the Brotherhood top leaders to the same inconsistencies of media reports on senior leaders that vary from newspaper to another.
Dr. Mahmoud Ezzat shed light with figures upon security raids that led to the arrest of some 2696 members of the group in 2007, 3674 in 2008 and 5022 in 2009. This resulted in the Shura Council’s inability to hold meetings and contest elections.
He also emphasized that the Muslim Brotherhood is extremely keen on maintaining Egypt’s national security and its’ interest in achieving peaceful reform in the society. “We are well aware that the meetings of the Guidance Office are surveilled by security although we intend only to practice democracy. In fact, we do not want to provoke the hostility and animosity of others”.
He also stressed the differences within the organization are not motivated by hatred or personal differences since the decent temperaments encouraged by the sublime teachings of Islam encourage us to tolerate difference of opinions. He added that history has proven that the Muslim Brotherhood movement has encountered much more difficult circumstances than the existing crisis.
The media has projected a negative image of the Muslim Brotherhood where they relied on SSI investigations for information. It is imperative that journalists get facts from the original sources if they are to have some sort of credibility. In fact the judiciary has invalidated all the accusations reported in state investigation, he said.
Dr. Mahmoud Ezzat was optimistic that the current political crisis will pass asserting that events will prove that the Muslim Brotherhood with all its noble manners, objectivity, and practicing of democracy will shine through with flying colours.