Muslim Brotherhood’s popularity will never be forgotten, Al-Bara.
Muslim Brotherhood’s popularity will never be forgotten, Al-Bara.
Ikhwanweb’s Editor holds an interview with Mahmoud Al-Bara
– Acquisition of Public funds is the Interior Ministry’s priority list.
– Egypt’s welfare and progress is everyone’s responsibility.
– Effective communication between the generations is the Muslim Brotherhood‘s most important features.
Once the masses in Al-Mahalla al-Kubra learned that Mahmoud Al-Bara a leading Brotherhood figure who was charged in the case of the alleged international network of the Muslim Brotherhood, they cheerfully rushed to meet him at the Tanta State Security headquarters in a great procession which paraded throughout the streets of the city.
Mahmoud Mohamed Al-Bara, a descendant of the Brotherhood’s mission and the youngest detainee in the case of “International network is described by his supporters as a man who has won the hearts of many Egyptians. A pious man, he has dedicated his entire life for his cause and in the service of, the poor and needy.
Born in the city of Mahalla al-Kubra in 1961, he graduated from the Faculty of Sciences in 1984, and obtained a Diploma in Education in 1987. Now He is working as a mathematics teacher. Al-Bara was born to a family, which embraced the Muslim Brotherhood’s moderate ideology, his father was one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s first generation and his grandfather taught the Holy Quran.
He received us warmly, with a broad smile and genuine sense of friendship, although he had not met with us before. We conducted an interview with him the following interview.
Ikhwanweb: Have you ever been arrested prior to this detention and was this detention expected?
Al-Bara: This was my first arrest time however; I expected this to happen because there were several signs indicating that I was personally monitored by police informants in the street where I live. They inspected the vicinity of my house and three days before detention, a State Security Officer visited the place, accompanied by a number of informants in order to inspect the street and the surrounding area.
We are not criminals
Ikhwanweb: How did you know the police were about to arrest you? Did it ever cross your mind to flee from the police?
My neighbors drew my attention to this matter more than once. In response to the second question, the Muslim Brotherhood members do not flee because they are not criminals or thieves to do so. My neighbours gathered around the house during the arrest and tried to get me away from the security’s grip, but I refused.
Ikhwanweb: Could you give us details about the arrest?
Al-Bara: I was going to travel to Al-Mansoura to conduct some unfinished business but one of my friends suggested I stay and travel in the morning. I went to the house at 2:00 am in the morning. On May 19, I sat with my children and started advising my eldest son Mohammed and several instructions inadvertently rolled off my tongue. Suddenly we heard a loud commotion and, forces cordoned off both our house and neighboring houses. They climbed up on our rooftop and the surrounding roofs with flashlights.
Barbarically, they broke down the door; I was surprised that a police officer pointed a gun at my face, shouting, “Stop thief!” I told him in very strong terms, hold down your gun I am not a thief. If the police had merely asked me to go to the police station, I would have immediately obliged to go without this charade.
Al-Bara: They searched all our personal belongings in a brutal manner. They cut off telephone lines seizing my wife and children’s mobiles. Both my mobile and my wife’s mobile are still in their possession. They confiscated any money they could find, including household expenses, my wife’s salary that they took from her purse, in addition to the children’s allowances. They later took me down to the car.
I will kill the Jews!
Ikhwanweb: How did the family react in these critical moments?
Al-Bara: Praise be to Allah, my beloved wife and children stood steadfast however the younger children. My nephew Sajed 3, automatically thought they were Israeli forces and he “I will kill all the Israelis, who kidnapped my uncle!”
My parents invoked Allah against them and my father talked them saying “let Mohamed go, take me instead.”
Ikhwanweb: We have witnessed you caring for the poor and needy. They love you so much. What is your reaction to these scenes?
Al-Bara: I said earlier, the neighbors congregated around me and tried to get me away from security grip. In fact, neighbors had gathered around the house shouting,” Allah is enough for us and an excellent guardian”. “They talked to the security men saying” Why do you detain the honorable and let the thieves, drug dealers and drunk free?
People rushed towards me, giving me a prayer mat, a blanket, and a bag filled with food. I swear to Allah I do not know the names of many of these people who presented and surprised me with their generosity.
New khatmah of the Qur’an (complete recitation of the Qur’an)
Ikhwanweb: After you left the house and boarded the car, what was the first thing that came into your head?
Al-Bara: The first thing that came into my head in these critical moments was to begin a complete recitation of the holy Qur’an once I reach State Security headquarters in Al-Mahalla. I had already began reciting a verse in which the Almighty Allah says “they did no harm, but they harmed their own souls (Cow: 57), and when they took me to the State Security headquarters in Tanta, I found verse a divine message from Almighty Allah to His good servants to be patient.
Ikhwanweb: Describe to us your trip?
Al-Bara: I was surprised the next morning to find the much-respected Mr Mohammad Al Azbaoui in the transfer vehicle that would take us to the Supreme State Security Prosecution at the Fifth Gathering, until that moment I had no idea why I was arrested. They brought me before the Prosecution in which the prosecutor accused me of the repeated and known charges including belonging to a banned group designed to collect money and the financing of the group with money for the sake of the Palestinian people with funds collected for terrorist crimes. I understood then that I was being involved in the “international network of the Muslim Brotherhood with the administrator of MP Saad Al Husseini in the same “international network”.
They showed me 44 names, including Sheikh Awad al-Qarani, Wagdi Ghoneim, who we always watch on Satellite TV channels along with figures from London, Algeria and other countries.
Ikhwanweb: what belongings did the state security officers confiscate from your home?
Al-Bara: They acquired 3000 L.E. from my house and about 300 printed documents. They also showed me three papers-written by my little daughter of names participating in a trip organized by her and some of her friends years ago. In front of each name was written the assigned responsibilities of the little girls’ trip including people who had booked for the trip, such as Iman, 7, Ahmed, 3, and 2 year-old Atef. They were added as figures and police claimed, “50000 pounds had been collected for the trip despite the fact that it was a one bus affair. When I heard, I sarcastically laughed at these silly fabrications, and then they asked to examine my handwriting. When they found it was not my handwriting, they transferred me to Al-Mahkoom prison.
Settling of scores
Ikhwanweb: What is the real reason behind the fabrication from your point of view?
Al-Bara: I think it’s just a settling of scores because of our assistance to the Palestinian people during the recent Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip where marches and peaceful demonstrations conducted in the Mahalla al-Kubra, was attended by thousands of citizens as well the sending of relief convoys.
Did you encounter any problems concerning the treatment of Brotherhood’s patients and the acquiring of medication needed amid the dire situations in Al-Mahkoom jail?
Al-Bara: In fact, most of the prisoners were suffering from diabetes, insulin keeping was their biggest problem, so we asked the prison administration to allow us to enter a refrigerator to store insulin, but the request was rejected. I remember a criminal detainee gave us an ice cooler in order to preserve doses of insulin fear of being spoiled.
Violation of human rights
Ikhwanweb: You coexisted for the first time in your life with criminal offence prisoners in extremely poor conditions. Tell us about these conditions?
Al-Bara: The criminal offence prisoners in Egyptian jails are wholly suffering where the cell has a capacity of accommodating 10 prisoners. Approximately 35 to 40 inmates are placed in the cells where they are unable to sleep on their backs or even sit. They are also subjected to torture and ill-treatment. Every night we hear the cries of prisoners from the ward where they sometimes vomit from the pain. Without doubt, there are other ways to deal with them other than the torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners.
The Continuity between generations
Ikhwanweb: You told us earlier about 10 students who were detained with you in the same
cell. How did you treat them despite the huge age difference?
Al-Bara: The age differences were overlooked for the sake of brotherly love through Allah the Almighty. Among us were men born in 1935, and other were born in 1991, however, all these years were dispelled because of the brotherhood’s love. This produced a unique relationship between generations rarely existing outside the Muslim Brotherhood; another great benefit of this sublime mission. It is the movement’s elder’s aspiration and the bright outlook to the future of the young people, which reciprocates esteem and respect from the young to the elderly.
Ikhwanweb: Did the Media’s escalation of the alleged case have a negative impact?
Al-Bara: Of course, we were reflected negatively especially on my first day in prison. I had psyched myself that I will not get out of prison before serving at least 3 to 5 years, unless the case took another course.
Quiet time alone with Allah
Ikhwanweb: What is the psychological impact the prison left in Mahmoud Al-Bara’s mind?
Al-Bara: The prison has had a significant impact on my outlook on life. There was time for quiet reflection alone with Allah Almighty where I have assigned myself a faithful and educational reform program. I have memorized a large portion of the holy Qur’an and many of the Prophet Mohamed’s (PBUH) hadith as well as acquainting myself more with the biography of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH). I read many books, and these past months were filled with worship and the drawing closer to Allah in order to get rid of our soul’s faults.
Ikhwanweb: You passed the desert of suffering with deep impact upon yourself. Remind us of some of its aspects.
Al-Bara: My cousin’s death was one of the most difficult for me as I considered him my older brother. He died a week after my arrest. In these difficult moments, we performed a funeral prayer for the absent, then my Brothers offered their condolences and gathered around me so that I would not feel like I was alone: indeed, they were like family.
Ikhwanweb: Of course, this was a very sad incident. Could you tell us some of the other aspects of life that have brought you the most happiness?
Al-Bara: Of course, I passed many matters that caused me feel with a great pleasure. Firstly, the son of my cousin who passed away visited me in prison on his return from . He spent a whole day with me, in Tanta State Security Headquarters before the release. Secondly, the moment of the release of Mohammad Al Azbaoui, who refused to leave prison without me, where he stressed, “I will not leave here until your release Mahmoud. He insisted that he would not leave until the head of the State Security Service swore by Allah that they would meet his demands.
Ikhwanweb: Were you harassed by security on leaving their headquarters?
Al-Bara: Yes, when my relatives came to meet us, Tanta State Security told them that we were taken to the Wadi El-Natron to frustrate them, fearing that they would hold a reception.
Ikhwanweb: Did they succeed?
Al-Bara: Indeed they succeeded in thwarting the reception of Al Azbaoui, who was released from prison before me, but my relatives were informed of my departure and met me with more than 30 cars on Tanta-Al-Mahalla road. We entered the city in a great procession. My relatives and friends raised me on their shoulders.
Who is banned?
Ikhwanweb: What kind of crowd met you now of your release from prison?
Al-Bara: The number of the Brotherhood’s members were few compared to others. Praise be to Allah, I have a very close relationship with many people. The state security officer was surprised on finding more than 3100 names registered on my cell phone, he told me “is it possible for 3100 names to be registered?”
My relations with all sectors of society are varied and very good. Believe me, more than 2000 people visited me in just two days, and perhaps you saw it yourself, even the vegetable sellers and cafe owners stop me, and cheerfully hand out soda and drinks to passer-by. Who is banned now?
A message for the society’s welfare and progress
Ikhwanweb: Before we conclude this interview, do you want to say something else?
Al-Bara: Yes, I would like to say something to Egypt’s youth “Islam is imminent, and this belief is a safe haven for the entire Muslim Community’s suffering. Just seek to apply and promote Islamic law in order to please God.
I beseech Egypt’s Muslims and Copts, all political parties, preachers, intellectuals and human rights activists and the elite to stand united and make the effort towards the advancement of our beloved Egypt’s status and the fight against corruption, injustice and tyranny for Egypt’s reconstruction.