MB Secretary-General: Detentions Will Not Deter Us
In his interview with Egypt Window website, MB Secretary General Mahmud Ezzat clarified MB stances on several issues, most importantly the supportive role of the MB and changing stance of the Egyptian regime towards the Palestinian issue and American support for Zionism. Ezzat also shared his views on the recent security escalation against the MB, the upcoming April 6 strike, and the recent developments which took place last month in the national press administrations.
Egypt Window: Since the announcement of a unilateral cease-fire in Gaza, MB events in support of the Palestinian issue suddenly stopped despite the ongoing siege, truce breaches, and closing of the crossings and despite the MB chair’s call for continuing these supportive efforts. What is your opinion on this?
Ezzat: Pro-Gaza events haven’t stopped and will not stop because we are required to keep the Palestinian issue alive especially after the last holocaust in Gaza. Maybe public events, such as demonstrations and protests, are less now than they were during the war, and this is expected. Our aim behind these public events was to let the masses share in bearing the trust of defending the Palestinian issue. Moreover, these public events were an important sign that the masses were on the right track in their expression of support for resistance. What is more important, though, is that the nation unite under the banner of resistance and this necessitates that people change their lifestyles and that each of us support the Palestinian cause through his field of specialization.
A person observing people’s responsiveness to the efforts of rebuilding and relief for Gaza will sense the presence of true interaction. Hence, I would say that the MB’s efforts in urging the nation to support the Palestinian cause have not stopped.
Egypt Window: Some say that MB actions were for political gains more than they were to pressure the Egyptian regime to change its stance towards the Gaza events?
Ezzat: The MB is performing a duty rather than trying to make political gains and seeking to do so using all the capabilities it has. Concerning our pressuring the regime to change its policy, the oppressor must be told “you’re an oppressor” and the despot must be told “you’re a despot” and the negligent must be told “you’re negligent.” This way we confront each with his responsibility.
Regarding intentions to make political gains, we don’t look at matters this way. Our message clearly addressed support for our brothers in Palestine, first and foremost; then the Zionists in order to make them aware that the whole nation remains alive and that they are not confronting our brothers alone in Palestine; then to the American administration who supplied Israel with weapons and supported them in all their despotic stances.
In this message we wanted all the above to know that we are with the Palestinian people and for the world to know, particularly the West, Americans, and tax payers that their governments are spending their money to gain the enmity of the Islamic world.
We wanted to tell Zionists that you’re facing a nation that is still alive and supports the Palestinians and that this is the stance of all the Arab and Islamic peoples.
Egypt Window: The MB Chair called for the continuance of pro-Gaza events until the opening of the Rafah crossing, but the events lasted no longer than two days?
Ezzat: An event is any effort that will support our brothers in Gaza and there is no doubt that the Egyptian people are exerting a lot of effort for the sake of our brothers under siege.
People are doing their duties as we ask Allah to help us fulfill ours. As for the street demonstrations, they are not the only required effort. What is important is that the issue remains alive.
Egypt Window: How do you assess the Egyptian role in the current Palestinian issues such as the Shaleet file? What is the future of these negotiations?
Ezzat: The observer finds that the Egyptian role has changed somewhat, although not in essence. But no doubt the firmness of our brothers in Hamas and the Palestinians softened the Egyptian stance towards the Palestinians as apparent in the negotiations.
So, the Egyptian stance is shifting closer towards the Palestinians after it had been biased against them thanks to the wisdom and steadfastness of our Palestinian brothers which forced people to respect them.
Egypt Window: Why was the Egyptian regime biased to the extent of conniving against the Palestinians and Gaza in the beginning of the last war on Gaza?
Ezzat: Governments are different from the people. Governments face pressure- especially those which don’t enjoy the popular support of their people- and their stabilities are dependent on the exchange of interests with the American and Western administrations which are biased towards Zionists. But also the stance of the Egyptian people made the regime see the issue from a different point of view as it started realizing that it had no other choice or solution and that Israelis must make concessions and Americans must shift their stances or else there would be no way out. The Egyptian regime is stuck between American pressure and the call of its people for a stance-shift. This equation eventually forced the Egyptian regime to be against the Palestinians.
Egypt Window: How do you interpret the recent campaign of arrests launched against the MB? Does it have anything to do with Gamal Mubarak’s visit to the U.S. or is the government settling accounts with the MB because of its pro-Gaza stance?
Ezzat: No matter what the reason, oppression never had any logical justification. No matter what the regime’s motives, our reply is one: “Our call is dearer to us than ourselves, and we will continue in what we are doing and if our brothers have been detained, when they are released they continue to work for their call to God.” ( DAAWA دعوة) This is our reply to the regime.
Egypt Window: Could you further clarify this point and in particular explain the Interior’s insistence on arresting Dr. El-Ghoneimy despite his illness? Is it a message from the regime that there are no red lines with the MB?
What is happening to the MB now has happened before, but what was the result?
Ezzat: Those who seek the pleasure of Allah and paradise and want for this nation to rise, sacrifice everything. One’s persistence and steadfastness can also do a lot.
We don’t respond using improper words or violence, but at the same time we will not give up our call and will continue in our efforts.
During the era of Abdel-Nasser, ten times these arrests took place. Despite that, people drew closer to the truth and became more inclined to the group of people who seek nothing but the people’s and nation’s pride.
Egypt Window: Dr. Hisham El-Awady in Cambridge University conducted a study in which he compared the MB and the regime to see who would most likely lead to Egypt’s stability and found that the MB would most likely lead to Egypt’s stability. In addition, news suggest the possibility of Obama’s adoption of softer stances with the MB. Can we consider this a form of ice-breaking between the American administration and the MB?
Ezzat: The matter isn’t as simple as it seems. We know the different American administrations and the culture that prevails in the West and America and their support for Zionists. Furthermore, recent events have proven that there is a nation represented by a front in the heart of the battle in Palestine and present among the Arab-Islamic people. This front is a live nation that is able to stand in the face of Zionists.
However, one can’t imagine a change in the stances of a civilization founded upon the mutual interests of Zionists and the West which far outweigh the mutual interests of the West and our nation. Americans should reconsider their stances but the matter isn’t that simple. Such a civilization requires effort on our part if we want it to reconsider its views.
Even though George Galloway said, “Britain isn’t the Belford Declaration…” and, of course, we can’t deny the efforts of the British masses for the Palestinian cause, there is no doubt about the fact that Britain was the real cause behind this situation. So, matters aren’t as simple as they seem.
Egypt Window: After the death of MB Vice-Chair Hasan Howeidy, news leaked about problems in choosing his successor, whether Dr. Ibrahim Munir or Sheikh Faisal Mawlawy. Has the MB decided yet?
Ezzat: This matter concerns the MB Chair; he is the one who appoints his deputies and specifies their tasks.
Egypt Window: Some political forces in Egypt are getting ready to join the upcoming strike on April 6. What is the role of the MB in this strike and will they adopt it?
Ezzat: Our stance on strikes is clear. We are with protests that lead to true reforms; the last period has shown that people’s adoption of peaceful means for reform requires a lot of effort on our part with the people if it is to bring about the desired results. So, what I mean is that we have a goal but we want to achieve it through legitimate means.
No doubt that people’s expression of anger is required but at the same time we find that there is a lot of effort to be done with people, first, in order for this expression to bring about the desired results. We don’t want to be drawn into adopting means that are not, in essence, our means. So, yes, we are against humiliation, but we will not protest against it through improper or offensive language, violent behavior, or get into clashes with others, or fall into the traps of other wrong means. So, we are trying to spread awareness among the people on how they can restore their rights through serious and fruitful means.
In other words, I am with protests, but at the same time if the MB is going to participate it will do so in order to achieve goals that are in the country’s interest according to its principles and morals.
There is a vacant Parliament seat in Alexandria. Will the MB be running in the by-elections for this seat?
This matter concerns the MB in Alexandria; they are able to assess this matter themselves.
Egypt Window: There has been a lot of confusion in the last period about the MB’s stance towards the Shiites and Iran. What is the MB’s point of view in dealing with the Shiites and Iran?
Ezzat: There’s nothing new to say about the MB’s stance towards the Shiites. Our stance since El-Banna is that we consider Shiites a Muslim sect and don’t consider them disbelievers. Concerning the differences between us, we are the People of the Sunna (Prophet’s traditions) and Gama’a (The group) and believe that our methodology is the most correct, but still we don’t call Shiites disbelievers. We cooperate in that which is common between us and excuse our differences. The legal matters we differ on concern the scholars who are responsible for clarifying the truth in these matters but as the People of Sunna and Gama’a, we consider our approach the closest to the truth.
On the other hand, we should not judge the whole Shiite sect based on the political stance of Shiites in a specific place. Our judgments, instead, should be based on specific practical and political stances. For example, Shiite resistance in Lebanon differs from the situation of Shiite resistance in Iraq. So, when we support resistance in Lebanon, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we support Shiite resistance in Iraq. Similarly, Shiites in Iran have certain stances on the Palestinian issue that agree with ours. We also support their stance on possessing peaceful nuclear power as we believe it is important for this nation to possess such energy as we support their stance towards America and Zionists. However, we don’t hold all Shiites responsible for Shiites’ stances in Iraq, for example, that we may not agree with.
Egypt Window: After the promotion of figures from the NDP Policies Committee to the national press administrations, some expect that there will be a rigid tone escalation affirming succession. Is there anything you’d like to tell the MB throughout this period regarding this?
Ezzat: This matter is not new. The media has always been in a coalition with the government and money. However, the MB looks at media in terms of its crucial role in speaking the truth.