In a live interview with TV presenter Amr Laithi, in the program (90 Minutes) on the satellite channel Al Mehwar (December 5, 2011), Dr Mohamed Badie, Murshid-e-A’am, Ikhwanul Muslemoon, has stressed that Egypt now needed a consensus President, and reiterated that the Ikhwan was committed not to run for the presidency. This is the first interview taken soon after the first phase of the parliamentary elections. It helps one to understand the situation there and Ikhwan’s stand straight from the horse’s mouth.
Dr Badie said: “Ikhwanul Muslemoon does not seek to rule Egypt. We want to help and co-operate for the rejuvenation and revitalization of Egypt. No progress would take place in Egypt except through a national consensus of all political stakeholders.”
He mentioned that people giving the Ikhwan their votes were evidently giving them their trust, which was a heavy responsibility, “a great burden we have to carry as we work faithfully towards what is best for Egypt”, calling on all parties and stakeholders of the country to cooperate and work together for Egypt, “because Egypt is our homeland – all of us,” Dr Badie added.
He mentioned that the Ikhwan Executive Bureau, also known as the ‘Guidance Bureau', was in a continuous meeting during the days of the Revolution, and that the Ikhwan was strongly involved in the revolution from its inception. “At the beginning, on the 22nd of January, all Ikhwan administrative offices around the country received threatening calls from the State Police warning us against going to Tahrir Square. However, our unanimous reply was: ‘The Ikhwan is with the Egyptian people, as it has always been. All young Ikhwan members were invited to interact with the January 25 calls, launched from ‘Facebook’, and they were right in the heart of the revolution, as confirmed by fair-minded people. On January 28, we instructed all Ikhwan members to go to Tahrir Square, to protect protesters on the ground. That was the defining moment for the January Revolution, which was certainly a gift from Allah. The people of this homeland craved freedom. We never hesitated before coming out to support and help achieve the noble goals of the popular uprising. Despite the deliberate alienation of the Ikhwan by the former regime, when the Egyptian people rose in protest, we rose with them, with crucial assistance where and when it mattered.”
He also stated that: “After the Revolution succeeded in toppling the former regime, plotting foes sought to drive a wedge of division between the Egyptian people, seeing that they have broken the barrier of fear. Those foes tried to provoke strife, sedition and discord between Muslims and Christians, judges and lawyers and so on.”
Further, Dr Badie said: “The armed forces have our full appreciation and sincere respect for protecting the Egyptian people and their blessed revolution, although the Ikhwan suffered the most from army generals, during the rule of former regimes. We were tried before military courts, after being found innocent in civil courts – dozens of times, with our honourable, crimeless members collectively spending over 20,000 years in prison. Nevertheless, with tremendous forbearance and fortitude, they came out of prison with even greater love for Egypt, their homeland, and its army. This was confirmed by former Prime Minister, Aziz Sidky, who said: ‘We are sorry for the people of Egypt, that we deprived them of the Ikhwan’s capabilities’."
Dr Badie stressed that the position of the Ikhwan with regard to the military was clear: “We will praise and encourage its good endeavours and point its mistakes when it errs, and effectively stop any wrong-doing. And if it slows down the march towards democracy, we will push it forward, to meet all the legitimate well-deserved demands of the Egyptian people.
“Recently, we observed certain decision-making delays by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). We did our duty, providing advice, urging the generals to take timely decisions to lift the injustice done to the Egyptians, and to reassure people that they shall regain their rights eventually.”
Dr Badie pointed out that: “We promised to always take to Tahrir Square, if handover of power or parliamentary elections were delayed. We certainly cut no deals with SCAF or anyone else for that matter. In recent events, we did not go down to Tahrir, in order to protect the electoral process. We knew that the goal was to drag us into a trap of murderous sedition and strife between the Ikhwan and the military police, to increase the number of Tahrir martyrs and turn the whole scene into a bloody massacre, making it ‘logical’ to at least postpone parliamentary elections indefinitely. That would have been a definite derailment of the Revolution, its goals and the entire march towards democracy.”
He added: “We took the decision to limit the cost suffered by protesters. We quickly and forcefully called all high officials to an immediate cease-fire in Mohamed Mahmoud Street (where most of the dead and injured fell), demanded full protection for demonstrators in Tahrir Square. Later, it really hurt to hear Essam Sharaf thank the Ministry of Interior on its performance in those events. Meanwhile, we set up 20 Special Fund Societies to help and care for the martyrs and wounded protesters, in all the country’s governorates.”
Dr Badie stressed that the Ikhwan never sought to monopolize or dominate, but to cooperate, coordinate and participate in the upcoming Parliament, noting that they first offered the idea of nominee cross-listings in order to offer the country elections with the taste and the spirit of Tahrir, of the Revolution: “Also, I said, even before the revolution, as well as during its events, that we will not compete for the presidency.”
He explained that the Egyptian people, now the owner of their decision, unlike any previous elections, have sided in the parliamentary elections with those they trust the most: “No-one can force their vote like in the dark days of the former regime.”
Dr Badie mentioned: “On the Al Horreya Wal Adala’s candidate lists, the Muslim Ikhwan has introduced a Christian (Copt) and a female member into the new Parliament. We put fair rules that did not favour anyone in the arrangement of the electoral lists. Hence, some parties and stakeholders decided to withdraw from our alliance, although we refused to nominate certain Ikhwan members simply because they were not deemed sufficiently popular.”
Dr Badie stressed: “Ikhwan is offering a comprehensive project with which we bear good for Egypt. And we call on all patriotic citizens and stakeholders to join hands with us in that energizing initiative. Ikhwan won 40% of the votes in the first phase of parliamentary elections. That was the nominal ‘ceiling’ we set. This also is proof that the Egyptian people have firm beliefs, clear choices and parties they trust. All the Egyptian people must be represented in parliament, just as they were united in Tahrir Square on January 25.”
Furthermore, Dr Badie stressed that: Ikhwan is in favour of a mixed presidential/ parliamentary regime in Egypt, yet everyone was shocked at a statement by one of SCAF’s generals that the People’s Assembly will have no powers to form a government, nor to withdraw confidence from the cabinet,” wondering what powers parliament shall have, if it has no such oversight?! And, why statements like these are announced regarding the new government, in the middle of the electoral process?
Dr. Badie added: “To declare, now, that the People's Assembly will be so ‘powerless’, may lead voters to boycott elections and shun the whole process. Indeed, parliament must have sufficient power to serve the new government. There must be consensus with the military on the formation of the government. We must live in harmony with all, antagonizing none. This will only happen by uniting all the parties for the good of Egypt.”
He explained that in Islam there was no theocratic state, in the Western sense: “Islam is inherently ‘civic’. In any case, Egypt is an Islamic state, since its Constitution says that Sharia is the main source of legislation and a guarantee of all Egyptian people’s rights. Dr Sufi Abu Taleb wrote in a famous book: ‘There was never a more powerful consensus on any Article than that of Islamic Sharia: this restores for the nation all the moral values and prevents social and cultural rupture and disintegration. At the same time, Sharia ensures freedom of religion for non-Muslims, and allows the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) to organize their personal status affairs according to their own faiths’.”
Dr Badie told of a visit when some young Copts came to see him at the Administration Office: “They asked me about the Ikhwan slogan (two swords and the Quran), adding that they were fearful of ‘the swords’! I said those were not meant to scare them at all. ‘Rather, they are to scare your enemy – our common enemy, the enemies of Egypt. We are willing to die in defence of all Egyptians and Egypt our homeland. In the Holy Quran, God tells us that you, Christians, are closer to our affection, and commands us to be most magnanimous in dealing with you (Quranic Chapter 5, Verse 82). He tells us about you in the Quranic Chapter 19: ‘Mariam’ (the Virgin Mary). That is a Chapter honouring Christ’s mother, whereas there is no Chapter at all honouring Prophet Mohamed’s mother’!”
Dr Badie added: “No nation in the whole world did as much as the Egyptian people who sacrificed their own lives in order to regain their long-lost freedom. Is it possible that this nation will be ready to give up that freedom any time soon?! On the other hand, no group or faction in the whole world suffered as much as the Ikhwan from the oppression, persecution and tyranny of the former regimes. Is it at all imaginable that Ikhwan members, with their fear of God and love for their homeland, would deal out oppression or persecution to others? The people are capable of defeating all tyrants and oppressors.”
Dr Badie said: “We want to restore to Egypt its freedom and dignity, and to its people security and stability”, stressing that those who claim that the Ikhwan will seek to apply the Islamic penal code, as soon as they take charge of the country, are unscrupulous scare-mongers, and that what they claim is not at all true: “People must have their rights in full. Then, blessed with wealth, security and decent work, those who break the laws, must be punished.”
He explained that the Ikhwan accepts decisions based on Shura (Islamic consultation/ democracy), which it regards as an act of worship. “When we prepared Al Horreya Wal Adala election program, we distributed copies out to all stakeholders, intellectuals and experts of Egypt, inviting comments and positive criticism. They did provide us with valuable feed-back and tremendous contributions which helped us correct many mistakes in the second version of the program,” he added.
With regard to art, Dr Badie said that: “Art has an important role in promoting morality in society and rejecting vulgarity. However, the Islamic moderate and gradual approach will be the best treatment of any problems, and where something is forbidden, many alternatives will be found to replace it.”
As for tourism in Egypt, Dr Badie stressed that it should be a more comprehensive industry, highlighting Egypt’s culture and history, Egyptian civilization and glorious past and present. He also pointed out that Egypt's civilization was made by Muslims and Christians, on the ruins of ancient Egypt.
He mentioned that the Ikhwan and the Salafis, as well as all other Egyptians, are one nation of one homeland, and must unite in love of Egypt, and cooperate in the same spirit and ethics of Tahrir, adding that no Ikhwan members should ever accuse liberals of being non-believers or atheists.
He emphasised that the Ikhwan decided not to run for the presidency, or nominate an Islamist for President, in a bid to allay the fears of all stakeholders and observers, explaining that he had once told Hamdin Sabbahi and Ayman Nour: “We must meet to choose someone who can achieve consensus between all the people for the sake of Egypt. We are determined to have for Egypt a consensus President to comfort and reassure everyone, domestically inside Egypt, and externally on the international level, bearing in mind the economic blockade on Gaza because of Hamas's rise to power.”
In conclusion, Dr Badie said: "Those who feel remorse, and wish to be forgiven for what they’ve done, must first return all funds they stole from Egypt. But we will not forgive those who murdered Tahrir revolutionaries’ martyrs,” adding that the sight of Mubarak inside a defendant’s metal cage was a Sign from God and a lesson for all those who kill Egypt’s citizens and steal and plunder its resources.