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An Overview of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood´s Stance on U.S. and Jihad; Translation of Its Draft Political Platform (MEMRI) MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS) Special Dispatch No.3556 02/03/11)Source: http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4970.htm MEMRI} MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE MEMRI} MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
This report presents an overview of the positions of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, as expressed by its general guide, Muhammad Badi´, since his nomination in January 2010, and as set out in its proposed political platform, which was drafted in the era of Badi´s predecessor, Muhammad Mahdi ´Akef, and was leaked to the media in August 2007. The translations are taken from reports published by MEMRI over recent years.[1]

Badi´: The U.S. Is on the Verge of Collapse

In a Friday sermon in September 2010, Badi´ said that the U.S. was already on the threshold of collapse and would soon fall, like other immoral societies before it: "The Soviet Union fell dramatically, but the factors that will lead to the collapse of the U.S. are much more powerful than those that led to the collapse of the Soviet empire – for a nation that does not champion moral and human values cannot lead humanity, and its wealth will not avail it once Allah has had His say, as happened with [powerful] nations in the past. The U.S. is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise..."

In the same sermon, Badi´ said that the Muslims would soon emerge victorious over their enemies, as promised by Allah in the Koran: "Allah said: ´The hosts will all be routed and will turn and flee [Koran 54:45].´ This verse is a promise to the believers that they shall defeat their enemies, and [that the enemies] shall withdraw. The Companions of the Prophet received this Koranic promise in Mecca, when they were weak... and a little more than nine years after the Hijra, Allah fulfilled his promise in the Battle of Badr... Can we compare that to what happened in Gaza?"

He called on the Muslims to unite against their enemies, whose "oppression and tyranny" they need not fear: "Today we see how much the [Muslim] nation needs unity... O Muslim nation, unite! O sons of Palestine, unite, all of you, in the face of the enemies who scheme against you, and know that Allah is the best of schemers, and that though Him you shall triumph. [Know that] Islam is capable of confronting oppression and tyranny, and that the outcome of the confrontation has been predetermined by Allah."[2]

In a March 2010 sermon, Badi´ said that Allah promised to destroy nations guilty of "oppression, aggression, and tyranny" in the Koran: "Allah says about the destruction of nations because of their oppression, aggression, and tyranny: ´Of the wrongdoers the last remnant was cut off. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds [Koran 6:45]´; ´And [as for] these towns, We destroyed them when they acted unjustly, and We have appointed a time for their destruction´ [Koran 18:59]..."[3]

Badi´: Jihad – The Only Path to Restoring the Muslim Ummah to Its Former Glory

Badi´ has repeatedly called on Muslim leaders to encourage and support jihad, which he considers a duty incumbent on Muslims and the only path to restoring the Muslim ummah to its former glory. In a weekly Friday sermon in April 2010, he said: "Muslim leaders, Islam, to which you belong, advocates jihad as the only means for setting the Ummah´s situation aright, as Allah says: ´O you believers! When you are told to go forth in Allah´s way, why should you incline heavily to earth? Are you contented with this world´s life instead of the hereafter?´ [Koran 9:38] Our revival, majesty, and glory depend on the return to righteousness, which will only be achieved through resistance and the support of [resistance] in every way – with money, arms, information, and self[-sacrifice]..."[4]

Badi´ has called on Muslims peoples to wage jihad in whatever way they can, whether through personal self-sacrifice or through contributions. For instance, in the March 2010 sermon mentioned above, he said: "A nation cannot live, a state cannot be founded, rights cannot be protected, and land, property and money cannot be preserved but by means of jihad for the sake of Allah. [Therefore], ´stand up and strive in His cause as you ought to strive [Koran 22:78]´... Our only way to repel the vicious attack on our land and restore our honor and glory is to sacrifice our souls, our money, our time, our lives and anything else for the sake of our noble cause."[5]

In the same sermon, Badi´ rejected definitions of jihad as terrorism, insisting that jihad is legitimate, and calling the occupation of land by foreign elements terrorism: "...Jihad must not be likened to terror. Jihad means making sacrifices in order to restore what has been stolen, defend one´s property, expel the occupier, and make Allah´s word supreme, while terror is occupying someone else´s land..." [6]

In the abovementioned September 2010 sermon, Badi´ said: "Today the Muslims desperately need a mentality of honor and means of power [that will enable them] to confront global Zionism. [This movement] knows nothing but the language of force, so [the Muslims] must meet iron with iron, and winds with [even more powerful] storms. They crucially need to understand that the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life."[7]

"It is your obligation to stop the absurd negotiations, whether direct or indirect, and to support all forms of resistance for the sake of liberating every occupied piece of land in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all [other] parts of our Muslim world. The sources of your authority, as all religious scholars have agreed, are the Koran and the Sunna, and not U.N. resolutions or the dictates of the Zionists or Americans. This can be achieved if you declare the Palestine cause and the causes of the [other] occupied Islamic nations your primary concern. You must stand behind your free peoples and their various institutions in their repeated calls for boycotts, an end to normalization, and support for the resistance and its representatives... You must revoke all the agreements of capitulation.... especially the Camp David Accords... which go against the Egyptian constitution and U.N. resolutions, and do not therefore obligate Egyptian senior officials..."[8]

Badi´: The Koran Is the Constitution

In his September 23, 2010 Friday sermon, Badi´ said: "The noble Koran is the constitution that sets out the laws of Islam. It is the fountainhead of all virtue and wisdom in the hearts of the believers, and it is the best [way] for the believers to become closer to Allah... The Holy Koran includes all the tenets of faith, laws of worship, principles of public good [and] legal concepts [pertaining to] this world, including duties and prohibitions, and they are for the benefit of all humanity, without distinctions of religion, [skin] color, gender, [social] status or language..."

Badi´ added that Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Bana had considered it the duty of the Muslims to establish the Koran as the basis for the laws of this world and to implement these laws. Al- Bana, Badi´ said, believed that "the Muslim Brotherhood... [must] urge the public to obey the edicts [of the Koran] and to join them in achieving this goal, which is the loftiest goal a Muslim [has] in his life, so that the Koran may rightly become our constitution and the constitution of the entire Muslim ummah..."

Badi´ added that the Koran must continue to be a way of life for every Muslim and his family, and that, at the state level, countries whose official religion is Islam must establish the Koran as "the basis for the constitution and the first source of legislation, the scales of justice in the courtrooms and one of the bases of the [school] curricula at all levels [of education]... All clauses of the [state] constitution which Islam and its precepts do not permit must be removed..."[9]

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Discussions of Political Platform

In January 2007, Badi´s predecessor, former Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Muhammad Mahdi ´Akef declared that, for the first time in its history, the Muslim Brotherhood movement would publicize its political platform. Since then, the official platform has not been released,[10]  but a draft of the platform – sent by the movement to some 50 Egyptian intellectuals for review – was leaked to the media in August 2007.[11]

Following is a translation of the platform as it appeared on the website Islam Online:

The President and Legislative Branch Will Be Advised by the Supreme Council of Clerics

The religious character of the state is an issue dealt with extensively in the platform. The draft states: "We present this reform plan to all sectors of the Egyptian people... in accordance with the constitution and with the [principle of] freedom of expression, opinion and thought, and in accordance with the second article of the constitution, which states that Islam is the official state religion and that the Islamic shari´a is the main source for legislation... [p. 5]. The Islamic state is, by its very nature, a civil state, because appointments to [public] office are made on the basis of qualifications, experience, and expertise, while the [holders of] political positions are elected by the people... [p. 14])"

The draft platform states further: "The authority of the shari´a will be implemented in a manner that conforms to the [will of the] nation, by means of a parliamentary majority elected in free, clean, and transparent [elections]. The legislative branch must consult with the nation´s Supreme Council of Clerics, which will likewise be freely and directly elected from among the clerics, and will be completely independent of the executive branch – procedurally, financially and administratively. It will be assisted by neutral and reliable committees and advisors with knowledge and experience, including in the secular sciences. [The duty of consulting with the Supreme Council of Clerics] will also apply to the president when he wishes to implement decisions based on law and in the absence of the legislative branch. In these circumstances, the Supreme Council of Clerics decision will be final and will best serve the interests of the public.

"In the case of controversial [questions] which are not unambiguously [settled] by shari´a laws based directly on clear and applicable texts [from the Koran or hadith], the final decision will be made by the legislative branch. Such decisions, if [approved by] the legislative branch by absolute majority, will be valid even if they contradict the opinion of the Supreme Council of Clerics. In such cases, before the legislative branch makes its final decision, it must appeal to [the Supreme Council of Clerics] and present its position, which it believes better serves the interests of the public.

"The criteria for electing the members of the Supreme Council of Clerics, and the standards they will be required to meet, will be stipulated by law... [p. 10]"

Non-Muslims Are Barred From the Presidency

Another clause that evoked criticism deals with the treatment of Egypt´s non-Muslim population. The draft states: "A state is predicated on the principle of citizenship. Egypt is the state of all those who hold Egyptian citizenship, who by law have equal rights and duties in accordance with the principles of equality and equality of opportunity... [p. 12]. The principles of equality and equality of opportunity are essential in obtaining justice and in deepening [the sense of] belonging to the homeland; they can be implemented by avoiding discrimination, in both rights and duties, on the basis of religion, gender, and race, and by granting all citizens an [equal] opportunity to express their opinions; to run for political organizations, to join [such organizations] and to move [freely] from one to another; [and] to study and to work - [providing] that they observe the basic values of society... [p. 23]."

On the other hand, the draft included the following: "There are basic religious offices in the country whose [function] is to protect religion. An Islamic state must protect non-Muslim [citizens] in all things concerning faith, ritual, etc.; at the same time, it must preserve Islam and all matters related to it, ensuring that no ritual, propaganda, or pilgrimage contradicting Islamic activities are carried out. These religious offices include that of the president or prime minister, depending on the political regime [in the country]. Accordingly, we believe that the duty of the president or prime minister - depending on the political regime - runs against the beliefs of non-Muslims. Consequently, a non-Muslim is exempt from this position, based on the Islamic shari´a, which does not obligate a non-Muslim to perform functions that contradict his faith... [p. 15]"

The Role of President Is Unsuitable For Women

According to the draft platform, women, too, are barred from running for president. The document stipulates that one way of ensuring citizens´ equality and equality of opportunity is "to grant the woman all rights due to her in a way that does not undermine basic values in society. [p. 23]" It further states: "Women constitute half the population, and they balance the family roles (as wives, mothers, and house owners). Islam has [always] treated woman as man´s sister. As for the woman´s role with regard to employment, [Islam] stipulates that it should be balanced against the woman´s lofty mission at home, with her children, so as to strengthen the basic units of society.

"Our worldview presupposes complete equality in human dignity between man and woman, while at the same time assigning crucial importance to distinguishing their social and humanitarian roles, without affecting the status of either gender. The woman´s role in the family invests her with primary responsibility for educating the next generation and for ensuring that the family in our Egyptian Arabic Muslim culture serves as the basic social unit. Our national revival is predicated on the reestablishment of the family unit. Accordingly, we attribute supreme importance to the balance in the woman´s roles, [including] the enhancement of her roles within the family and in public life; she should not be burdened with obligations that contradict her nature or her role within the family.

"We believe that offices occupied by women are determined by social consensus that rests on the authority of the Islamic culture. The debate over several offices and the possibility for a woman to occupy them (e.g., as judges) must be carried out as part of the social and religious dialogue with the aim of attaining social consensus, so that both women and men have a chance to participate in the decision-making process. On our part, we believe that the burdens of presidency must not be placed on a woman´s shoulders – any more than supervising and leading the army – since they contradict her nature and the rest of her social and humanitarian roles... [p. 103]."

The Peace Treaty with Israel Will Be Reexamined

Another controversial aspect of the draft platform concerns honoring ratified international peace agreements, meaning in particular the peace agreements with Israel. The document states: "We honor unwritten laws and treaties, international contracts and agreements, as well all agreements that call for cooperation between the peoples to attain justice and equality... [p. 7] The principle of honoring international treaties and agreements ensures the stability of relations between the countries, and creates a legal framework for settling conflicts between different sides. International law, as well as international treaties and agreements, offers ways to probe the extent of commitment of the sides, while at the same times providing avenues for their revision should any of the sides feel that the agreement in question discriminates against it, harms its status, or undermines its security. Revising bilateral agreements and treaties is [an accepted] practice in international relations, anchored in [special] clauses of these agreements – and is regarded as a routine procedure... [p. 29]"

Tourists Visiting Egypt Must Respect Islamic Laws

The clause dealing with tourists in Egypt is equally controversial. The draft states: "Tourist services comprise religious tourism, scientific tourism, tourism to attend conferences, tourism for [medical] treatment, commercial tourism, and holiday tourism. All activities related to these aspects of tourism must be in line with Islamic principles, values, and laws. A tourist must familiarize himself with Muslim religious boundaries, so as not to transgress them in public during his stay [in Egypt]. As an Islamic state, Egypt must adhere to the Islamic values...Shari´a permits a non- Muslim to do things that are forbidden to a Muslim, albeit not in public but only in the private sphere – and this [regulation] also applies to a tourist... [p. 57]"

This clause infuriated Egypt´s tourist agencies, which claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood´s aim was to sabotage the Egyptian economy. The director of one such company said in response to the release of the draft: "How can we request that tourists in our country fulfill the demands of the Brotherhood´s platform – is that reasonable? Doesn´t our Islamic faith prompt us to honor [other] religions, [according to the verse] ´You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion [6:109]´? How can we force our religious precepts and principles on them? Every free individual [should have the right to choose] his faith… The Brotherhood´s platform, if implemented, would cause great losses and harm to Egypt´s tourism. A tourist travels to enjoy his freedom, and it is not wise to impose constraints – indeed, what, then, is the meaning of the word ´tourism?´..."[12]

 
Endnotes:

[1] An exception is the excerpts from Badi´s Friday sermon of September 23, 2009, which were translated as part of the current document.

[2] MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 3274, "Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide: ´The U.S. Is Now Experiencing the Beginning of Its End´; Improvement and Change in the Muslim World ´Can Only Be Attained Through Jihad and Sacrifice,´" October 6, 2010, http://ww w.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/193/4650.htm.

[3] MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No.599, "In Advance of the Arab Summit, The Arab ´Resistance Camp´ and Iran Campaign For a New Intifada Against Israel, the PA and the Renewal of Peace Negotiations – While the Summit Itself Is Set To Stress a ´Just and Comprehensive Peace´ Including Israeli Withdrawal from Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine as the ´Arab Strategic Option,´" March 26, 2010, http://www. memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4062.htm.

[4] Special Dispatch No.2988, "Muslim Brotherhood Leader: Only Jihad Can Restore the Muslim Ummah to Its Former Glory; ´The Hour is Near when [We will] Rid the Ummah of this Foreign Body [Israel] that has been Malevolently Planted in Its Midst,´" June 1, 2010, http://www. memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4254.htm.

[5] MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No.599, "In Advance of the Arab Summit, The Arab ´Resistance Camp´ and Iran Campaign For a New Intifada Against Israel, the PA and the Renewal of Peace Negotiations – While the Summit Itself Is Set To Stress a ´Just and Comprehensive Peace´ Including Israeli Withdrawal from Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine as the ´Arab Strategic Option,´" March 26, 2010, http://www. memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4062.htm.

[6] MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No.599, "In Advance of the Arab Summit, The Arab ´Resistance Camp´ and Iran Campaign For a New Intifada Against Israel, the PA and the Renewal of Peace Negotiations – While the Summit Itself Is Set To Stress a ´Just and Comprehensive Peace´ Including Israeli Withdrawal from Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine as the ´Arab Strategic Option,´" March 26, 2010, http://www. memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4062.htm.

[7] MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 3274, "Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide: ´The U.S. Is Now Experiencing the Beginning of Its End´; Improvement and Change in the Muslim World ´Can Only Be Attained Through Jihad and Sacrifice,´" October 6, 2010, http://ww w.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/193/4650.htm.

[8] Special Dispatch No.2988, "Muslim Brotherhood Leader: Only Jihad Can Restore the Muslim Ummah to Its Former Glory; ´The Hour is Near when [We will] Rid the Ummah of this Foreign Body [Israel] that has been Malevolently Planted in Its Midst,´" June 1, 2010, http://www. memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4254.htm.

[9] www.ikhwanonline.com, September 23, 2009.

[10] Al-Ahram (Egypt), January 14, 2007.

[11] The draft first appeared in the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm, which published it in four installments from August 10 through 14, 2007. However, senior Muslim Brotherhood officials stated that the version published in the paper was not the final version of the platform. Another version of the draft was posted by www.islamonline.net on August 25, 2007. See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No.409, "Public Debate on the Political Platform of the Planned Muslim Brotherhood Party in Egypt," December 11, 2007, htt p://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/125/2632.htm#_edn1.

[12] Akher Sa´a (Egypt), August 29, 2007. The draft sparked criticism both from external elements and among members of the movement. Then Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Muhammad Mahdi ´Akef responded to the wave of criticism by asserting that the draft had been aimed at assessing public opinion, and that changes to the platform would take the various criticisms that had arisen into account. Since 2007, no new proposals for a platform have been issued. It should be noted that, in June 2010, Badi´ called for the revocation of the Camp David Accords, and that in an August 6, 2010 interview on Al-´Arabiya TV, he reiterated the Muslim Brotherhood´s opposition to Copts or women running as presidential candidates. www.ikhwanonline.com, April 1, 2010 and August 6, 2010.


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