- Human RightsMilitary TribunalPrisoners of Conscience
- December 18, 2007
- 5 minutes read
MB Parliamentarians Hold Virgin Visit to France
Invited by the Arab Commission for Human Rights and the Arab-Europe Cultural Forum and other organizations, Egyptian members of Parliament Dr. Mohamed Saad Al Katatni and lawyer Sobhi Saleh Mousa arrived in the French capital on Dec, 12th, 2007. Both MPs hold this visit, along with other Egyptian and Arab human rights activists as part of the activities carried out by the Arab Commission for Human Rights against the Egyptian politically motivated military tribunals.
It”s worth mentioning that 40 top Muslim Brotherhood (MB) figures have been detained, a year ago, and were referred to a military tribunal. These figures occupy economic, scientific and academic posts (collegians, researchers, doctors, engineers and businessmen).
Both Egyptian MPs met a number of French politicians and a number of journalists to speak about the Muslim Brotherhood, its general policies, parliamentary stances and its MPs day-to-day struggles.
Both MPs pointed out in the meetings that they insist on that their efforts in Arab or international activities are carried out in coordination with the People”s Assembly, while it is necessary to correct the stereotypical image about the Brotherhood Movement specially in a country like France where secularism is part of the political life and has supporters, movements and effective lobby groups.
Most questions during the meetings focused on the actual size of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, whether the Muslim Brotherhood talk about democracy and freedoms a tactic for reaching power, what is the Muslim Brotherhood”s attitudes towards the Copts, women in Egypt, whether the Muslim Brotherhood benefited from its parliamentary experience an whether this experience disappointed MPs and those who voted for them? Whether the Muslim Brotherhood seeks actually a society of cooperation, not competition and if so why it hasn”t created a wide opposition front?, what is the Muslim Brotherhood”s attitude towards the current Us administration, what is its attitude towards Camp David agreement. The Muslim Brotherhood MPs told them that the MB parliamentary bloc has got 300 offices nationwide and there is a continuous contact between the movement and people”s concerns on the ground. He said also that the MB parliamentary bloc has submitted 8000 interrogations, interpellations, demands for building projects and accountability requests for mismanagement and corruption during the past two years. This raised eyebrows of the Middle East correspondent for La Croix Newspaper who said:” I previously thought that the Brotherhood Movement does not follow up corruption issues, doesn”t meet popular demands and doesn”t give a focus to belief issues with such accuracy.
The two MPs pointed out in their meetings ahead of the human rights seminar organized by the Arab Commission for Human Rights, that the movement realizes its actual size, that it does not represent most of the Egyptian society and that it doesn”t make its candidates reach a specific rate because it believes that regional and international circumstances do not accept a Muslim Brotherhood majority in Egypt nowadays. The two MPs confirmed that the movement is popular and peaceful, not coupist or revolutionary movement and that its main target is founding a constitutional legitimacy under a dramatic civil government. The movement realizes that the Egyptian society is multiple by nature and that religiousness is a deep-rooted phenomenon that includes Muslims and Christians and that religiousness does not mean extremism.
Dr. Al Katatni said that they can initiate a dialogue with Arabs, Europe and the world according to rules. As for holding a dialogue with the US administration, it isn”t accepted for the time being. To initiate a dialogue, they need first: approval of the MB group and second: permission from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry because the Muslim Brotherhood movement is keen on the Egyptian national entity.
When asked about the military institution, lawyer Sobhi Saleh criticized involving some parties in the military institution in political life. “Unfortunately, the military tribunal which should hear military violations and crimes in the country, is currently exploited to settle political scores with the Muslim Brotherhood opposition as it is currently trying civilians”, said MP Saleh, adding that the military institution should be used as a defence for the homeland against foreign intervention, and it should never be used as a weapon in domestic political conflicts.
Several French figures proposed opening a direct dialogue with Egyptian opposition in Europe or in Egypt to know its viewpoint and not to confine the viewpoint to that of Egyptian ruling party. They also suggested establishing an interactive French language magazine to lay braking grounds for a serious dialogue between moderate Islamic movements and the political thought in Europe .
The meeting was capped with a hot seminar organized by the Arab Commission for Human Rights entitled “Military Courts and main freedoms in Egypt “, with participation of a huge number of politicians, human rights activists and journalists. The Arab Commission declared that it prepares for publishing a comprehensive book about nowadays Egypt to be co-authored by Egyptian intellectuals, human rights activists and politicians.