• Arts
  • February 5, 2006
  • 15 minutes read

The Brotherhood’s Vision of Art

The Muslim Brotherhood’s rise aroused artists fears  over its stance of art and its version of freedom of __expression. Does the group obstruct creativity and innovation?  The coming reportage tries to find answers to these questions.


Lenen el-Ramly: the Brotherhood will Vanish:


Lenen el-Ramly, a scenarist, believes it is time to surpass mere worries to actual resistance via introducing movies that disclose the Brotherhood’s ideology. ’I am always sensing the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood and trying to fight them through some artistic works such as el-Arhaby, Take off Masks, and Ahllan Backwat. This does not mean that I am pro-government.’


Why does the world respect for Israel that allots 160-fold of Egyptian resources for research resents the group?  If a religious government seizes, how does the country achieve progress since any opponent will be a disbeliever? He wondered.


For el-Ramly, the government pushed the Muslim Brotherhood’s outshining. The government intended to draw the public by showing its interest in religion; however, it fails providing a golden chance for the group. In addition, the regime helped the Brotherhood when enfeebled other parties.           


The Brotherhood can not affect the cinema because it is governed by supervisory laws. However, they can step in books, just like the case with three books which the group provoked the public against. It is undeniable that the MB lurks for the Culture Ministry for it adopts a liberal approach. The group was successful in influencing the society before its access to the parliament; therefore, it will not have further effect on art.   


In conclusion, Lenen said the Brotherhood’s rise is a logical development of the current circumstances, adding the group will vanish just like Arab nationalistic movements.


Brotherhood’s Spokesman: I Watch Movies


Essam al-Arian, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spokesman, stressed that art is a product of man’s creativity. It is the artist’s tool to sort evil and virtue.


He added the cinema undergoes a difficult times, at the moment. It is not only the Brotherhood’s opinion but also of artists and cinema manufacturers who constantly complain the deteriorating conditions of the cinema.


Al-Arian clarified that it is untrue that the Muslim Brotherhood’s members do not see movies. ’I follow up all artistic activities, when ever possible. It is correct that I have not been to theatres for a long time but I do watch movies on television. Recently, I have seen el-Basha Ttelemz. I found it meaningless; it neither adds nor shows something new, on the contrary, it tarnishes the concept of creativity. Moreover, I have watched King of the Rings. Although it is unrealistic, it employs high and distinctive technology. Besides, I saw the English reproduction of el-Rasala (the Massage), directed by Mustafa el-Aqad. This film is meaningful and significant so I wonder why it is banned in Egypt. Commenting on what is said that the group would step in to ban some movies, al- Arian said ’ the Brotherhood does not have power to ban movies.       


Abdel Qudos: Art will be more Refined:


The Brotherhood journalist, Muhammad Abdel Qudos, regards art a twofold weapon that may be a source of evil or of virtue. The MB does not oppose art since it carries a message and is a medium of entertainment. I agree with Omar el-Shreef, a great movie star, who asserted repeatedly that the group does not pose a threat on art.


The only difference between the Brotherhood and liberalists is the concept of free-impudence cinema. We seek a cinema that cultivates the human sense. Where generalization is unacceptable, nobody can say art is impermissible. In fact, there are good and bad works. Both religion and art can always meet but not in two points: when religion is strict or when art is a spring of impertinence. The appearance of women in cinema is acceptable as long it preserves values and the respectable image of women. If the Brotherhood seizes power, refinement will feature art. The Brotherhood presents Islamic songs and plays but banned from appearing on the television. Away form offensive songs of video clips, we encourage noble and beautiful songs.


Abu el-Fotoh: We Reject both Confiscation and Offence:


Abdel Monam Abu el Fotoh, a prominent leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, called on Nageeb Mahvoz, a Nobel-prize getter in literature, to mark a new era of the Brotherhood-artist relationship. He thinks that art is the mirror of society. However, the problem is the adoption of extremism: some wants restriction-free art, others desire to confine it. In fact, the MB develops a moderate view; to encourage creativity but within the framework of social norms. Real artists are those who preserve the social values and reflect the society. There is a great difference between art and impudence. Art enriches comprehension and satisfies people’s needs while offensive works are wholly rejected by nature. The Brotherhood can neither present special kind of art because we are a part of the society nor intend to establish an artistic institution. We just express our opinions. We want judiciary not the government to settle artistic disputes. Abu el-Fotoh added he watches movies and listen to songs. The Days of el-Sadat was the last film he has seen.