He has said that it is time to put into practice the Brotherhood's famous slogan - "Islam is the solution" - and described its policy plans as having "a moderate Islamic reference". But what does a moderate Islamic reference mean when compared with notions of secularity and equality?
The Muslim Brotherhood, was formed in 1928 as a Pan-Islamic, religious, political, and social movement by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna, it was banned in its founding nation, Egypt, after it supported the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 when it attempted an assassination of Egypt's president then President Nasser in 1954.
"God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations."
The Muslim Brotherhood's goal, as stated by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna was to reclaim Islam's manifest destiny, an empire, stretching from Spain to Indonesia [source].
Israel and Egypt have a 33 year-old peace treaty between them, but Rashad al-Bayoumi,speaking in the Washington Times on 3rd February 2011, said, "After President Mubarak steps down and a provisional government is formed, there is a need to dissolve the peace treaty with Israel,"
This was somewhat contradicted by Brotherhood spokesman, Mahmoud Ezzat, who suggested that his organization, “will respect the peace treaty with Israel as long as Israel shows real progress on improving the lot of the Palestinians.”
This not-so veiled threat is likely to raise the heckles of their neighbouring Israel, who took just six days to overwhelm the Egyptian forces, taking control of the Sinai Peninsula until the second Camp David Accord was signed in 1979.
It would appear that, at best, the present regime would like another crack of the whip, having received military aid from the US of $1.3 billion annually until 1997, which helped modernize the Egyptian military (This is beyond economic, humanitarian, and other aid, which has totalled more than $25 billion). But they will no doubt be aware of $3 billion of US annual aid since 1985 in grants and military aid packages to Israel.
Memories fade quicker than egos grow, it seems.
On the issue of women and gender the Muslim Brotherhood interprets Islam conservatively. Its founder called for "a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behavior", "segregation of male and female students", a separate curriculum for girls, and "the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes..."
Al-Banna held highly conservative views on issues such as women's rights, opposing equal rights for women.
In October 2007, the Muslim Brotherhood issued a detailed political platform. Amongst other things it called for a board of Muslim clerics to oversee the government, and limiting the office of the presidency to Muslim men. In the "Issues and Problems" chapter of the platform, it declared that a woman was not suited to be president because the post's religious and military duties "conflict with her nature, social and other humanitarian roles." While underlining "equality between men and women in terms of their human dignity," the document warned against "burdening women with duties against their nature or role in the family." [source]
Morsi said, as reported in IkhwanWeb, that the Brotherhood has confirmed that there will be no discrimination between Muslim and Christian party members; he added in fact it will accept a Copt as deputy for the party if elected. He maintained that the Freedom and Justice Party will not differentiate between males and females however it rejects the candidacy of women or Copts for Egypt's presidency.
This is so far from 'no discrimination', it is a wonder that he didn't choke on his own words.
As we have already seen in Mursi's statement above, he is fine with non-discrimination of religion, just so long as his is the authoritative one.
In 1997 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mustafa Mashhur told journalist Khalid Daoud that he thought Egypt's Coptic Christians and Orthodox Jews should pay the long-abandoned jizya poll tax, levied on non-Muslims in exchange for protection from the state, rationalized by the fact that non-Muslims are exempt from military service while it is compulsory for Muslims. He went on to say, "we do not mind having Christians members in the People's Assembly...the top officials, especially in the army, should be Muslims since we are a Muslim country...This is necessary because when a Christian country attacks the Muslim country and the army has Christian elements, they can facilitate our defeat by the enemy." According to The Guardian newspaper, the proposal caused an "uproar" among Egypt's six million Coptic Christians and "the movement later backtracked."
According to the Anti-Defamation League, several former Brotherhood officials from the organization's 15-member Guidance Council have assumed key roles within the new party, and have used their positions in the FJP to reiterate the Brotherhood's long-standing hostility toward Zionism and support for other organizations that oppose Zionism.
In Bahrain, the Muslim Brotherhood is represented by the Al Eslah Society and its political wing, the Al-Menbar Islamic Society. Following parliamentary elections in 2002, it has strongly opposed the government's accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the grounds that this would give Muslim citizens the right to change religion, when in the party's view they should be "beheaded".
What difference Islamic attitudes between members of the same movement, on wonders?
Again, looking at the quote regarding women, we see that when it comes to democracy, the Brotherhood are simply paying lip-service. Any democracy 'overseen' by a board of Muslim clerics is by definition a theocracy, democratic principles take a back seat along with the Israelis, the women and the apostates.
The Brotherhood's political strategy? Hassan Al-Banna outlined a strategy for achieving power of three stages (my stress, but not my words):
- The initial propaganda (?!) stage (preparation)
- The organization stage (in which the people would be educated by the Muslim Brotherhood)
- The action stage (where power would be taken seized).
After the 2005 election, the Egyptian government introduced an amendment to the constitution that removed the reference to Islam as `the religion of the state, and would have allowed women and Christians to run for the presidency. Brotherhood MPs responded by walking out of parliament rather than voting on the bill [source].
The Brotherhood itself describes the "principles of the Muslim Brotherhood" as including firstly the introduction of the Islamic Shari`ah as "the basis controlling the affairs of state and society".
None of this equates to a democratic, healthy and egalitarian society. It is a step back, not a step forward. Which is why, Dr Mursi, Islam is the problem, not the solution.
We believe that Zionism, the United States, and England are gangs that kill children and women and men and destroy houses and fields. .... Zionism is a gang, not a country. So we will resist them until they don't have a country.Oh, and if there is any humour to be found in this catalogue of future despair, should we not all assumed the warning signs when noticing the surname of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's ex-convict eighth General Guide (chairman)
- former Supreme Guide Mohammed Mahdi Akef