Facts About Washington’s Conference on Arab Islamic Movements
I read in Al-Ahram newspaper Ahmed Mousa’s reportage entitled” Secrets of Opening Dialogue Between the United States and the Muslim Brotherhood” published on April 14, 2007. Let me, according to the right to respond prescribed in the press law and in the press code of ethics, explain the following points to clarify personal and objective attitudes:
1- I was invited by centre of contemporary Arabic studies at Georgetown university in Washington to take part in the center’s conference around the contemporary trajectories of the role of Islamic movements in Arab politics, held on March, 22-23, 2007. I was not one of the conference’s organizers and did not intervene in choosing the participants or travel arrangements; I was only invited among number of American, European and Arab researchers concerned with the studies of political Islam to present their studies. I was invited by professor Barbara Stowasser, the center’s director, and colleague Dr. Samer Shehata, the conference coordinator .
2- I participated in the second day of the conference with a research paper about the parliamentary performance of the Muslim Brotherhood MPs in the People’s Assembly and its consequences on the group and on the Egyptian political arena. My partner in this session was Dr. Samer Shehata who spoke about the broad outlines of the 2005 election campaign of the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidates, and it was moderated by Mrs. Stowasser. A Moroccan researcher who supposed to speak about the experience of the Islamic movements didn’t attend. I discussed in my paper the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategies in dealing with the file of the political participation and tackled the challenges imposed by the constitutional amendments, stressing that the Muslim Brotherhood should be treated as a national political group. Unlike what Ahmed Mousa wrote in his report, I did not show any video tapes about the security treatment of the Muslim Brotherhood, and I didn’t take any video tapes from any participant in the conference or any organizer.
3- I met on the sidelines of the second day of the conference with MP Mohamed Saad Al Katatni and my friend Dr. Amr Al Shobki, of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies; both of them delivered speeches in sessions other than mine; while I didn’t manage to attend Al Shobaki’s lecture because I didn’t attend the activities of the first day of the conference, I attended the lecture of Dr. Al Katatni at the end of the second day about the relation between Islamists and the West, and he shared the session with a German researcher who discussed the view of The European Union.
4 – Concerning my job as a senior researcher in Carnegie Endowment in Washington, it started in January 2005. Carengie arranged for moving me and my family from Cairo to Washington and to take a special unpaid vacation from my main job as a teacher at the department of political sciences in the Faculty of Economy and Political Sciences, Cairo University. Therefore, I am in Washington, not to study but to work and I am paid a monthly salary from Carnegie Endowment, and I do not receive any money from any government agencies in Egypt. Unlike what the report’s claims, I received my PhD in political sciences from Berlin university several years ago and I returned to Cairo University where i worked until I left to Washington. It would have honored me if the government had paid my study expenses in Germany, but in fact I received, after the approval of Cairo University, a personal scholarship from Berlin university which paid the expenses of my study and residence there; however, the sacred right of citizenship can’t be restricted to expenses of studies abroad; the real grant from Egypt is my becoming a human being.
5 – My work in Carnegie Endowment is concerned with researches; my job is to study and publish in my field of specialization: contemporary Arab politics; my research interests aren’t confine to Egyptian affairs or Islamic movements, but they inclyde also a bigger number of issues; being a senor researchers in a distinguished enterprise, I am invited sometimes to open hearings in US Congress and to hold interviews with experts of Arab affairs in the State Department, and the National Security Council in which I present my researches with objectively, patriotism and commitment to the issues of the Arab, an the Egyptian embassy to Washington can support this. Apart from this, I have no organizational relations with any government authorities in The United States, and I am not like those who take part or organize public or secret contacts for the US government with parties in Egypt or the Arab world.
6 – According to my research and press writings, both in Arabic and English, I may be at odds sometimes with the policies of the Egyptian government, or object to attitudes which, I think, aren’t to the interest and democratic change of our homeland, like many analysts. But that shouldn’t question my patriotism and shouldn’t portray me as ungrateful to my country. Disagreement in views is one of the simplest rights of citizenship; the government should be open enough to allow differences and multiple views without exchanging accusations.
7 – Finally, I suggest seeing both pages on the cyberspace, www.ceip.org and the center of Arab studies in Georgetown university, www.ccasonline.org for confirmations on what I have mentioned.
* Amr Hamzawy is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington
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