Daily Israel Report

Muslim Brotherhood Aims for Islamic Egyptian State

Muslim Brotherhood luminary Sobhi Saleh wants Sharia in Egypt claiming it is the "best system" for Muslims and non-Muslims; what of Obama's new ME?
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 5/26/2011, 7:53 PM / Last Update: 5/26/2011, 8:32 PM

The Muslim Brotherhood will impose Islamic Sharia Law in Egypt if it comes to power, according to the movement's Sobhi Saleh, the Egyptian Arabic daily Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Saleh, a leading Muslim Brotherhood figure, claimed Sharia would protect Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

“Terms like civil or secular state are misleading,” he said. “Islamic Sharia is the best system for Muslims and non-Muslims."

Sharia implements an Islamic state that excludes non-Muslims from full participation in government, and which does not regard non-Muslims are full citizens. Under Sharia the lives and property of non-Muslims are only protected in an Islamic state after Jizya ["protection money" -ed.] is paid.

"The acceptance of the Jizya establishes the sanctity of their lives and property, and thereafter neither the Islamic state, nor the Muslim public have any right to violate their property, honor or liberty," the 20th century Islamist thinker Shaikh Syed Abul A'ala Mawdudi wrote.

Sheik Najih Ibrahim Ibn Abdulla, another major Islamic thinker of the 20th century, summarized the purpose of the Jizya,

"Since the entire religion belongs to God, it aims at humiliating ungodliness and its followers, and insulting them. Imposing the Jizya on the followers of ungodliness and oppressing them is required by God's religion. The Qur'anic text hints at this meaning when it says: `until they give the tribute by force with humiliation.'" (Qur'an 9:29)

Prior to the "Spring revolutions" that have shaken many Arab regimes to the core and brought new governments to power in Egypt and Tunisia, the United States Central Intelligence Agency had classified the Muslim Brotherhood as a "secular organization."

US president Barack Obama has pledged USD 1 billion to Egypt as well as the cancellation of an addition USD 1 billion in Egyptian debt in his bid to democratize the Middle East and advance American values in the region.

"We support a set of universal rights," Obama explained in his recent Mideast policy address. "Those rights include free speech; the freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of religion; equality for men and women under the rule of law; and the right to choose your own leaders – whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus; San'a or Tehran."

The Muslim Brotherhood, an illegal party from 1954 until earlier this year, is one of Egypt's most powerful political forces and is well-situated to be the big winner in Egypt's coming elections. This underscores critics' doubts about Obama's plans to use Egypt as the flagship of his vision to democratize and liberalize the region.

The Brotherhood recently set aside differences with rival Salafist group Jama’a al-Islamiya, to form an alliance of Islamic parties.

"Recent attacks on the Islamic groups brought us together," Saleh told reporters.

Although it now claims to have renounced violence, Jama’a al-Islamiya was responsible for a number of terrorist atrocities in Egypt throughout the 1990s, including the 1997 Luxor Massacre, in which 62 people were killed.

A victory for te Islamists would likely put Egypt at odds with Obama's aims for the region and bring into question his plan to give aid to emergent regimes. This despite Obama's previous endorsement of the Muslim Brotherhood's participation in Egyptian politics.