A prominent figure in the Egyptian group Jama’a al-Islamiya has rejected the marches towards the Israeli border on Nakba Day (the day on which the Arabs mark the “catastrophe” of the establishment of the State of Israel).
In article written by Dr. Najjah Ibrahim on the group’s website and which was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), he complains that some Islamic groups are neglecting the crucial goals of helping the masses and educating them about their faith and are concentrating instead on superficial matters that appeal to public sentiment.
“Today, some of the factions in the Islamic movement give priority to emotions over reason, to outward [appearances] over the essence of things, to superficial [matters] over deep ones, and to feelings over careful calculation,” writes Ibrahim. “They appeal to the emotions of the youth [instead of] disseminating the correct Islamic sharia, and neglect the spreading and inculcation of [Islamic] laws that the Muslims have [always] found indispensable throughout their lives, as individuals, as a collective, and as a state.”
Ibrahim continues, “[One] example is the call to march towards Palestine, which spread like wildfire in this [country]. Outwardly, this call seems like a [show of] compassion [towards the Palestinians], but in actuality it is fraught with [danger]. It is a call that appeals to the emotions, but does not [really] benefit Islam, the [Islamic] homelands, or the Palestinian cause.”
According to Ibrahim, a march by Egyptian residents towards what he calls “the occupied [Palestinian] territories,” means a declaration of war on Israel. He adds that “the side that declared this war took this step against the will of the rest of the country and its military, political, or strategic apparatuses. That contravenes an important Islamic principle…These matters are under the sole authority of governments, because Allah has endowed them with special abilities that [other] groups and individuals do not possess...”
He praises the Egypt’s Supreme Council for issuing a statement warning against the march towards the border with Israel.
“[The Supreme Council] knows best what is the strategy of Egypt, Gaza, and Palestine,” says Ibrahim. “The leaders of the Islamic movement in Egypt also acted correctly when they canceled these marches, on the grounds that they could put Egypt into a confrontation that it does not want and for which it is unprepared – not only vis-à-vis Israel, but also vis-à-vis its allies in the West.”
Ibrahim, however, does not rule out a future Arab “liberation” of Jerusalem.
“We will never liberate Al-Aqsa by means of feelings and sentiments alone, but [only] through effort and action, by [advancing our] scientific research and technology, by fighting corruption, thievery, and bribery, and by restoring peace and security,” he says. “First, we must overcome the chaos and the apathy in which we are mired. Al-Aqsa will only be freed when Egypt is strong in every field, as it was [in the time of] Saladin and the Crusaders, or [in the time of 13th century Egyptian Sultan Saif Al-Din] Qutuz, [who defeated] the Tartars...”
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. It is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, and Egyptian governments.
The group recently set aside its difference with its rival, the Muslim Brotherhood, which according to reports is aiming for an Islamic state in Egypt if it comes to power.