Muslim Brotherhood Respects Rule of Law, Freedom of Expression
The Muslim Brotherhood rejected the fatwa attributed to the preacher Hashem Islam, member of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, in which he allegedly said it may be necessary to fight those who participate in August 24 demonstrations planned against the Brotherhood, according to a quote in an Egyptian newspaper.
Abdul-Rahman Al-Barr, Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Al-Azhar University and member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau, affirmed that: "We do not agree with this opinion or Fatwa. We consider it a huge exaggeration. This whole matter, essentially, does not warrant a Fatwa.
"We cannot deal with opponents by issuing Fatwas against them. However, I call on state agencies to be more vigilant, play a role in the protection of public and private property and institutions, and to guard against attacks on any establishment."
Certain Egyptian websites have mistakenly mentioned that Hashem Islam is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but Al-Barr denied that.
For his part, Dr. Mahmoud Hussein, Secretary-General of the Muslim Brotherhood, stressed that the Brotherhood is against criminalizing people or shedding their blood just for protesting, regardless of those people’s political affiliation.
"The Brotherhood believes in the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully without attacking or damaging public property. However, calls for illegal acts of violence, vandalism and destruction of public and private property during August 24 demonstrations fall outside the law. Outlaws must be held to account by the law."
Meanwhile, Hashem Islam said: "Media outlets affiliated with the defunct repressive regime have twisted my comments on calls for August 24 demonstrations. Our religion guarantees freedom of expression in a peaceful manner. Calls for vandalism and burning of buildings and property are nothing but violent bullying and intimidation that the security services must take action to prevent.
"In fact, no-one is against freedom of expression or peaceful protest. But statements calling for August 24 protests, organized by a limited number of individuals, actually incite subversion, sedition and anarchy."