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Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood: Alternative Visions of an Islamist Egypt
Jamestown Foundation Eurasia Daily Monitor ^
| Andrew McGregor
Posted on 08/11/2012 9:01:02 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
Egyptian President Mohammed al-Morsi
In late July, Sheikh al-Mujahid Hussam Abd al-Raouf a prominent al-Qaeda ideologue, member of its strategy committee and editor of Vanguards of Khurasan, the magazine of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, presented a lengthy examination of the steps Egyptian president Muhammad al-Mursi should take in transforming Egypt into an Islamic state. In an article carried on jihadi websites entitled If I was in Mursis place and sat on the Throne, Abd al-Raouf suggests the new Egypt should be a self-sufficient state based on social justice and preparation for jihad, both defensive and offensive (Ansar1.info, July 25). According to the sheikhs austere vision of a New Egypt:
- The Islamic Sharia must form the constitution of the country. It is a powerful force that can overcome any obstacle or challenge to comprehensive reform. Its implementation and progress should be explained in a monthly public broadcast. Senior figures of the old regime should be prosecuted in all fairness and efficiency and the funds that were looted in the past three decades should be recovered and deposited in the state treasury, a battle that will not be easy or short.
- There must be a comprehensive change in the lifestyle and behavior of the Egyptian President. This should begin with a move from the opulence of the presidential palace in Heliopolis to much more modest quarters in the suburbs as a first sign that the president intends to follow a policy of austerity, justice and humility. The presidential palaces, grounds and furnishings should be put up for rent or sale, as should most of the fleets of cars and aircraft, leaving only what is essential for the operations of the president. Further austerity measures should include the abolition of Egyptian embassies in countries that do not have direct political, economic or military ties to Egypt as well as the cancellation of official celebrations and festivals.
- All international conventions must be reviewed, according to the rule of law, with an eye to eliminating those conventions and treaties that have created in Egypt a cycle of poverty, underdevelopment and defeatism. Payments on enormous international debts created through usury should be canceled on the spot. Alternatives to such borrowing should be examined, including interest-free short-term loans, relying on Arab and Islamic solidarity for their provision.
- Investment from domestic capital and Arab and Islamic countries should be encouraged to exploit the business advantages offered by Egypt, including security, cheap labor, technical competence and low wages for professionals in comparison to those of Western or Asian countries.
- All Islamist political prisoners should be released immediately and the Ministry of the Interior cleansed of all those officials still loyal to the former regime. These steps should be accompanied by a review of the judicial system as a whole, including the qualifications of judges and amendments to the curricula of law schools and colleges.
- Rather than be appointed by the president of the republic, the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar should be elected directly by religious scholars. The awqaf system (religious endowments) and its control by a government ministry should be reviewed and reformed, while salary increases and bonuses to improve the social status of scholars and preachers will encourage academically outstanding students to study Islamic law and the Arabic language.
- The Culture and Information sectors should be cleansed of corrupt officials and those promoting apostasy, immorality and vice.
- Immorality fostered by tourism is linked to corruption and decadence in Egypt. Given the impossibility of cancelling this sector due to the employment and hard currency it provides, tourism should be Islamized by encouraging domestic tourism and visits from other Arabs and Muslims. Foreigners would be welcome if they agreed to abide by community ethics and behavior consistent with Islamic law.
- Citizens should be held accountable in their observance of the pillars of Islam, such as the performance of prayers, fasting and pilgrimage for those who can afford it. Of special concern should be employees of the state who do not perform prayers or who break the fast during Ramadan.
- The problem of male youth unemployment and resultant issues of crime could be eliminated by removing women from the work force. Working women may spend more than their salary on transportation to and from work, nursery fees, meals, clothing and accessories while their children develop mental and physical health issues in their absence. Why not then return women to their homes where they are protected and can avoid mixing with men? In a reversal of the modern assembly-line technique of mass production, the sheikh suggests that women who seek to supplement their husbands income can be trained by television in home production techniques and have raw materials delivered to their homes and finished products picked up later. Uneducated women can pursue sewing, embroidery, knitting and carpet production while educated women can assemble products such as watches and electronic devices.
- The performance of government departments and state facilities must be improved, especially government hospitals.
- Sectarian conflict must be extinguished in Egypt. According to Abdul-Raouf, the current leaders of the Coptic Church in Egypt continue to follow policies of the late Pope Shenouda III that fuelled sectarian disputes by attempting to create a Christian state within a state. Christians must not form part of the nations senior leadership as there are a sufficient number of Muslims with experience and competence.
- All citizens must be provided with food security and adequate housing. Agricultural scientists and scholars of animal production must be employed in efforts to bring self-sufficiency in food to Egypt, which currently relies heavily on foreign imports. With many Egyptians living in slums, shanty houses and tents, the state must dedicate itself to creating new urban communities where borrowing from Arab and friendly countries can be used to provide housing to Egyptians with interest-free and affordable payments.
- Working from the axiom that people who do not have guns do not have freedom, Egypt should abandon military assistance from the United States which it does not need and instead focus on becoming self-sufficient in arms production, even if this means an immediate decline in the quality of available arms. Abd al-Raouf points to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as proof that miracles can be achieved with even backwards arms and limited ammunition against the most powerful military forces if Egyptians put their trust in God. The state must become militarized in preparation for the epic battles to come between Muslims and infidels, with military service binding on every sane adult. As Islam does not acknowledge only defensive jihad, but must sometimes attack in a pre-emptive war to nip aggression in the bud, the responsible government department must change its name from the Ministry of Defense.
While new Egyptian President Muhammad al-Mursi is likely to take his advice from the Muslim Brotherhoods Guidance Bureau rather than al-Qaeda, the document is nevertheless interesting as a detailed proposal of how an Islamist state should be formed and organized according to al-Qaeda, which has been especially weak in dealing with such issues in the past, preferring to devote most of its ideological production to the conduct, aims and methods of global jihad.
(Continued . . .)
TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: alqaeda; egyptmb; muslimbrotherhood
There’s a 12 step plan to success buried in there somewhere.
Meanwhile, Egypt is just a few months away from not having enough foreign exchange reserves to pay for all the food it must import.
“There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place. This is one of those moments. This is one of those times. The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same.” 02/11/11 barack obama
No, Egypt will never be the same....
So this is what democracy looks like?! :(
posted on 08/11/2012 11:52:58 PM PDT
("If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait till it is free"--PJ O'rourke)
Just finished a very interesting book about “illiberal democracy.”
The author contends, rightly IMO, that the critical issue is not elections, it is the presence in a society of “liberal constitutionalism.” This is using “liberal” in its original classical sense, which is not that different from libertarianism; not the modern American sense, in which it means wishy-washy socialist.
In a liberal constitutionalist society the people have rule of law and freedom from excessive government control. Such a society can exist or develop under a variety of governments. There are historical examples of it doing so under dictatorships, more or less absolute monarchies, etc., as well as under democracies with free elections.
To have a liberal constitutional system under an autocracy, however, requires an unusually benevolent autocrat. They have existed, but the problem is always that they are often corrupted by power, and always eventually must be succeeded, usually by someone less benevolent. Open and free elections are important not because they are the main determinant of freedom, but because they are the only way that has been found to maintain liberal constitutionalism over a long period.
We can see this in our own history. The American Revolution was not caused by refusal of the British to allow American elections, it was caused by what (many) Americans saw as their infringements on existing liberal constitutionalism in the colonies.
The problem with elections in a society that does not yet have liberal constitutionalism is that it usually results in the election of people opposed to liberal constitutionalism.
IOW, elections are generally a way to maintain an already existing more or less free society, they are seldom effective at creating such a society.
The same is true of revolutions, only squared and cubed.
Thanks for posting. This is a disturbing read in to the mind of Islamic fundamentalism and how many of its tenets align with the western left.
posted on 08/12/2012 9:01:54 AM PDT
(Dump the Chump in 2012)
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