On the U.S./Islamists Dialogue, The Americans must thoroughly know who they’re talking to…
On the U.S./Islamists Dialogue, The Americans must thoroughly know who they’re talking to…
Saturday, December 17,2005 00:00
By By Tarek Heggy

On the U.S./Islamists Dialogue
The Americans must thoroughly know who they’re talking to…

An American diplomatic team is about to start a political dialogue with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) after they quadrupled its parliamentary representation in Egyptian elections earlier this month. The U.S. hopes that such dialogue that may help the oldest radical Islamist organization of the most important Middle East Arabic speaking country to evolve into a modern political party similar to the ruling party today in Turkey. As a true believer in freedom and Democracy I cannot be against the notion of dialogue. However, any dialogue could go wrong as it could go right. This expected dialogue should have a single vision i.e.: to participate in transforming the MB to a modern political party. If this does not happen, Egypt, my beloved country, might be soon affected by yet fall victim to yet another U.S. foreign policy miscalculation in the Middle East, just as Washington has allowed facilitated the transformation of the radical Islamist fighters (mujahedeen) in the Afghan war against the Soviets mujahedeen, the radical Islamist fighters in the Afghan war, to turn into a global terrorist movement, or as it supported Saddam Hussein in the 1980s against Iran.

Tarek Heggy- Columnist

Tarek Heggy is both a leading liberal political thinker in the Arab world and International Petroleum Strategist. His work advances the causes of modernity, democracy, tolerance, and women’s rights in the Middle East – advocating them as universal values essential to the region’s progress. In addition to being amongst the members of the first echelon of the contemporary Arab liberal thinkers, Tarek Heggy is a well-known international speaker/lecturer. During the past ten years, Tarek Heggy was invited to lecture at a wide number of world class universities including the King’s College of London University, Oxford, Princeton, Columbia, Maryland, California Berkeley and University of Colorado – Boulder. Heggy’s website is located at http://www.heggy.org [go to Heggy index]
The Muslim Brotherhood was launched in 1928 to restore a Califate, a global religious government aimed at fighting the “non-believers” (specifically, Christians, Hindus and Jews) and spreading Islam. They oppose the existence of any secular states in all Muslim societies throughout the Middle East.

The Brotherhood killed Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi in 1948 and plotted to kill President Gamal Abd El-Nasser. Their offshoot, Islamic Jihad, led by Ayman Al Zawahiri, Usama bin Laden’s number two, assassinated the Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat in 1981, and tried to kill President Housni Mubarak in 1995.

The Brotherhood MB remains extremely anti-Western civilization, opposes a political/peaceful settlement to the Arab Israeli conflict. Hamas is a Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim MB Brotherhood.

In this latest round of Egyptian elections, the Muslim Brotherhood emerged as the principal opposition with one-quarter of all parliamentary seats. MB controls such a sizeable portion of parliamentary seats, because all other political alternatives, especially secular and liberal parties, were marginalized and weakened for decades, while MB survived throughout the tens of thousands of mosques and madrassahs.

A proposed dialogue that is not based on thorough knowledge of the history of the Middle East, and the literature of Islamism might well take the U.S. for a ride. That is why it is crucial that people who run this dialogue exchange, raise and ask the right questions and get them answered. Questions such as:

(1) Some of the MB’s now expound that "Copts" are "Fully First Class Egyptian Citizens" - would this imply that a Copt (Egyptian Christians) could be, in principle, elected the president of Egypt?

(2) Would you follow the Saudi model of segregating "Girls" from "Boys" in schools & and universities?

(3) The Non-History-Related-Tourism (i.e. the Beach Tourism) generates in excess of 75% of Egypt’s tourism- revenues. What are your views about alcoholic drinks, gambling and casinos, and women dressing in any way they choose?

(4) What is your opinion concerning the peace treaties between Egypt and Israel and between Jordan and Israel?

(5) What do you think of the different forms of economic cooperation between Egypt and Israel (the Qualifying Industrial Zones [QIZ] for instance)?

(6) How do you describe the killing of Israeli civilians in Hamas or al Jihad suicidal operations?

(7) Do you believe that Sayed Qotb’s doctrine known as "al Hak’imyia" (à system of government based exclusively on Allah’s law which rejects all democracy and human law as apostasy) - is still the basis of your political system ? (Sayyed Qîutb, the leading ideologist of Muslim MB Brotherhood says that Hak’imiya is the declaration of total sovereignty and rule of Allah, a full revolt against human rulership in all its forms, systems and arrangements, the destruction of the kingdom of man to establish the kingdom of God on earth... A revolution based on this theory does not think of improving the existing system, of understanding it or participating in it, but of destroying it first and then building a new one. It is based on the assumption that there is nothing good in the current system.)

(8) What will be your views on women occupying all high governmental offices sorts of positions including ministership, prime-ministership & and the Head of State?

(9) What are your views about President G.W.Bush’s vision of a two States (solution, with Israel and Palestine) living (peacefully) next to each other?... Would you then accept recognize the right of Israel to exist?... Would you also accept that the Jewish section of Jerusalem is Israel’s capital?

(10) Egypt’s legal system (since 1883) has been based on the juridical notions of the continental legal system (Code Napoleon). - What are your plans in this regard? And what do you think of physical punishments, such as those used in Saudi Arabia?

(11) Like all modern societies, the Egyptian banking system is based on the notion of interests (for lending and savings). Will you keep it? - How do you see this particular point?

(12) Is Iran a factor of stability (or Instability) in our today’s world?

(13) Finally, the Americans who will be talking to the MB’s representatives MUST be very well read in all Islamic history & and Jurisprudence. Otherwise, they may not know that MB is likely to use TAQQYIA, a principle that permits the Muslims are allowed to lie, if this doing so would assist them to ultimately DEFEAT THE INFIDELS!!! (i.e. YOU, THE READERS OF THIS ARTICLE!!!). The taqqiya it is permitted by some olama (scholars), such as Ibn Hanbal and Ibn Taimmyia. Sending an ignorant American diplomatic team that is not knowledgeable, or only superficially educated, in these crucial areas could prove a catastrophe.

I wonder why the U.S. and Europe are not equally interested to support the civil/modern opposition and make sure that regimes throughout the Middle East pursue a real evolutionary path of institution building and economic and political reform. Only then may the Muslim Brotherhood may cease to be a totalitarian threat to my country.-one-