In a Rare Interview With State TV, Badie Praises Integrity of Egyptian Armed Forces
In a rare interview with the official Egyptian media, Dr. Mohammed Badie, Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, was interviewed on Egyptian state television, which was broadcasted on Sunday evening. He discussed a number of controversial issues that emerged after the January 25 Revolution.
Number of Active MB members in Egypt
During the interview, Badie stated that of the number of "active" MB members in Egypt is up to seven hundred thousands, adding that a report is currently being prepared that will be presented to the public to make this matter fully transparent. Badie also pointed out that the group will be disseminating new forms for membership in the upcoming months.
Relationship with the Military Council
Commenting on the relationship between the Brotherhood and the Military Junta in charge of the State, Badie categorically denied that an agreement has been made, or that private talks took place between the army and the MB outside the public national discussions, which the MB was part of them. He said that the Egyptian armed forces that have stood and are still standing with complete honesty and integrity in support of the revolution and would never have secret deals with any political force.
MB position regarding the May 27th protests
Commenting on the so called "Second Demonstration of Anger” that took place on May 27th, he said that he was not concerned about these protests, adding that things are much simpler than that, yet, he stressed that the MB will staunchly protect the right of the Egyptians who voted “yes” for the constitutional amendments in the March 19th referendum against anyone who infringes this right, and the group will not accept anyone rallying around and manipulating the opinion already expressed by the vast majority of the voters.
MB coordintation with other political parties
In response to a question about the possibility of coordination between the Brotherhood and other national forces, Badie said: “We still hold to the Unity List, which is comprised through the agreement on the best candidate and submitting him/her in the next Parliamentary elections." He denounced rumors that the elections will be postponed, and said: "Any specific period of time stated for preparing for the elections would not be enough or accepted by some people; therefore, the idea of postponing the elections has no solid ground and merely represents a hollow argument." He also denied that the Brotherhood’s discourse is arrogant or aimed at making a show of force. He noted that the fact the group would not compete for more than 50% of the parliamentary seats is sufficient proof that it seeks not to dominate the political arena.
MB position towards the National Reconciliation discussions
With regard to the Brotherhood’s position towards the “National Reconciliation” meetings run by Deputy PM Dr. Yahya Al-Gamal, Badie said: “We refused to sit in a meeting that is filled with remnants of the National Democratic Party and old regime. We decided that such talks are empty, and would end up with nothing. We also found these meetings are clear attempts to circumvent the results of the constitutional referendum, even though the people have already spoken and expressed their choice about the constitutional amendments in a transparent voting process.”
He said the Brotherhood has proposed an alternative to the “National Dialogue” through the formation of popular committees to gather ideas and opinions in a kind of "ideas bank", and help to develop the community and raise political awareness in the next stage. Badie also denied that the Muslim Brotherhood took part in burning the police headquarters or storming the headquarters of State Security during the revolution, stressing that none of the members of the group was involved in those attacks.
MB and Israel
In response to a question about what the reaction of the group if Israel launches new aggression on Gaza while the Brothers are in power, Badie said: “The situation will vary in such a case, and the Egyptian people will have their voice heard, and any government in power will have to respect the choice of the people, whatever that is, like in any democracy”. He stressed that Israel always uses the language of aggression and constantly talks about war.
MB and Hezbollah
With regard to the situation in Syria, the Brotherhood leader denied having any relationship with the Lebanese Hezbollah, saying: “We applaud Hezbollah when it fights the Zionists, but we have reservations about its position regarding the revolution in Syria, and Hezbollah’s incitement of Islamic sects against each other.”
MB will not support Abul Fotouh presidential campaign
Badie categorically denied the allegation that the nomination of Dr. Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh for the upcoming presidential elections is a form of deception by the MB and “distribution of roles”, saying that the position of Abu Fotouh is his own individual personal one, as he does not represent the Brotherhood and the group will not support his campaign.
MB Satellite channel
Badie revealed that the Ikhwan leader, Hazem Ghorab, will be the head of the new satellite channel,which will be launched by the Brotherhood soon. "It is an open public news channel that is expected to reflect and represent a wide range of trends, with commitment to the ethics of the society and the rules of the Islamic faith," Badie stated.
New MB headquarters
The Brotherhood Chairman also revealed that the group’s new headquarters in Mokattam, which was recently inaugurated in a major ceremony, is a rented place and the group does not own it. He said that the Brotherhood searched for a place in Manial, but did not find a house for rent in that area. Therefore, the group rented the headquarters in Mokattam, and prepared and furnished it within two months.
Media hostility towards the MB
Badie complained that the official and private media are still taking a hostile attitude against the Brotherhood, similar to the campaigns of the old regime. He said that much of the media still tends to attack and discredit the group.
Badie also demanded that State radio and television should broadcast the recordings of Hassan al-Banna and other MB leaders that are saved in the library of the Egyptian television. Badie said that the Radio and Television Union has an archive of rare recordings and photographs of Hassan al-Banna, including those in Kasr Al-Aini Hospital showing al-Banna who was injured due to the bullets fired at him during the assassination.
Badie refuted the claims that the State authorities abolished the internal watch lists prepared by the dissolved SSI forces, adding that the names of a large number of members of the group are still listed as barred from traveling. He said that the group did not recover the money that was confiscated from its members in the security campaigns launched by the ousted regime. The interview was part of the program Itigahat (trends), which is prepared by Abdel Aziz Mohammed and submits Muwafi, directed by Abdel-Rahman Hijazi.
Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) calls to protect religious freedoms
Regarding the new party launched by the group; The Freedom and Justice Party, Badie said that the party enjoys the membership of 93 Christians, pointing out that Dr. Rafiq Habib is the political adviser to the Brotherhood Chairman, and adding that the group continues to invite Coptic politicians to work with the MB as consultants. Badie stressed that the problems with the Copts were due to Mubarak’s 30-year-old regime, but he assured that resorting to the rule of law resolves the crisis and will satisfy everyone. He said that there must be new legislation governing the transformation from one religion to another, in a way that safeguards religious freedom and freedom of belief and it should be binding on all.