Sudan Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is associated - as the general Sudanese trend- with many splits afflicted the association. The major split was that of the prominent Sudanese figure, Dr/ Hassan Al Turabi, leading to many questions around the Islamic movements there? What is the Sudanese MB stance of the ongoing events? Do they accept supporting the government and in turn, work freely? What is the movement stance towards Dr/ Hassan Al Turabi? Besides other questions to Dr/ Ali Gawish, member of the Sudanese National Council and Executive Office of Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan.
**The association’s stance towards the national conference, represented by the government, and the people’s conference, headed by Al Turabi, is not clear to many observers of Islamic movements’ activity. So which party does the MB support?
The Sudanese MB stance needs to be clarified as many Sudanese mix between us, the national conference and the people’s conference as they were members of MB. Although most MB movements witnessed the same, the matter was different with Sudan. The MB in Sudan was not divided, but they deviated from their direction. In 1969 Dr/ Hassan Al Turabi deviated from the original MB ideology and continued till 1991, he destroyed the educational mechanism of the Muslim brotherhood. He refused to be an extension to the school of Hassan Al Bana, but rather an independent school has its own ideology based upon the rational thinking which prefers the reason to the text.
Al Noumiry coup took place few days after the 1969 split. Al Turabi managed intelligently to cope with his regime and started to form a forefront organization. At that time, the MB could not raise MB mottos as if he is the legitimate representative of the movement in Sudan. Even globally, Al Da’wa newspaper was issued with Al Trubai photo on its cover and " Muslim Brotherhood prince" was written on it. Many Muslim Brothers around the world thought that Al Turabi was the representative of MB in Sudan.
**For the layman Sudanese, many people consider MB the echo of the people’s conference that represents the government. All those lived at that time were blaming the MB for all governmental faults as Al Turabi was working under the name of the MB. Therefore we have been trying hard for years to show the difference between us(MB) and Al Turabi movement and between us and the national Islamic movement, from which derived the national conference, from which split the people’s movement.
What is your current political position, governmental or oppositional?
**We share in the government with 12 members legitimately, executively, Wala’i and federally namely; brother Samy Abdul Daim Muhammad Yassin, state minister at the Ministry of Social Care and Children and Women Affairs, Wala’i minister Dr/ Abou Bakr, minister of Culture, Youth and Sport and government spokesman Red Sea state, two as presidential agents :Mulana Saif Al Din, a presidential agent in Al Qadharaf state and Shiekh Ali Muhammad Ahmad Tengo, a presidential agent in northern Darfur state (Al Fahser) and the rest are representatives in the legitimate councils; in the central parliament(as the Egyptian Parliament (People’s Assembly)) namely:Dr/ Al Houbiry , general supervisor of the MB in Sudan, chairman of Education and Research in the parliament as Federal Minister, Ali Muhammad Ahmad Gawish, member of Sudan MB executive office and Yousef Al Badri, MB Shoura council in Sudan.
We have five representatives in the legislative councils: Shiekh Marghni Hassan, member of Khartoum Legislative council, Shiekh Al Menawi, council member in Northern Kardavan state, Shiekh Taib, council member in Al Jazira state, Muhammad Al Diry, council member in Nile state and Salah Al Nour, member council in Al Senar state.
Participation has many positive points and it is a MB methodology, whenever the Muslim brotherhood spare no opportunity to participate, render good or prevent evil. Participation is better in most cases than domination as no one can not dominate Sudan without paying attention to its different factions.
If the participation represents your true existence, so what is about the forthcoming elections due at the beginning of next year?
Those matters are calculated in their due time, but basically the 2008 elections should be democratic, will it be democratic or not? All these are hidden in Allah’s knowledge. However we study this issue and the electoral form in it. Most probably the coming elections will take the form of alliances and we will ally with close to our principles, targets and ideas to achieve triumph for both of us.
The Sudanese are multi-spectrum people and the factional fanaticism plays demonstrates the country, so how did you overcome it?
We deal with the other relying on the MB methodology in opening with the society. We deal with the Sudanese on account of we all live on one civil country and have common citizenship rights without contrasting our core principles. Despite the political rifts between the different parties; left, right and middle, the Sudanese are sociably tolerable. We have relations with all parties including the Islamic movements.
On the leftist side we are not that close or detached but we are in the middle. there are not many muslims in the south. A priest participated in the MB breakfast in Ramadan, we have social relations with the Christians.
The MB position differs from one state to the other; there are countries acknowledge their existence such as Sudan and Jordan, some countries do not and the MB melted such as Yemen, Algeria and Morocco, so what is the position of the MB in Sudan?
** Sudanese MB has its own political party. Moreover, it has a general headquarters. Though this party is insufficient, it was our only move. This is attributed to our weakness in this regard. We are seeking to benefit from the experience of our peers in Egypt to join syndicates, whether Physician Syndicate or the Bar Association, to work on the political level. We are studying to establish a political sign that expresses the MB view, in case of imposing restrictions, to be our political front, like other MB Movements worldwide, such as the Islamic Action Front in Jordan, the Yemeni Congregation for Reform and the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) in Kuwait. We cite such experiences, but we are still unsettled.
I as well as the public opinion believe that we may not resort to this option, as we have a different situation that may be inappropriate for us. MB in Sudan has suffered difficult experiences with these signs. On establishing the Islamic Charter Front in 1964 to be the MB political front, Al Turabi seeks to deprive the MB members of their content. Hence, he hindered and included them in the ICF that turned afterwards into the National Islamic Front then to the National Congress. Consequently, MB members were the only losers. That is the reason for being a bad experience. The basis is that MB is a group, though signs are established, whether political or voluntary or charity or social or Dawah.
* Does that mean the MB in Sudan, have no other activities apart from the political party, in spite of their history?
** No. I did not mean that. MB in Sudan has many organizations, through which they are functioning like the Islamic Mercy on the level of Dawah, the Heritage for Human Development on the level of training and rehabilitation, the Future Organization for youth, the International Islamic Medical Organization, and the Islamic Women Organization. All of these organizations represent the MB fronts existing worldwide.
Today, the group is not strong enough to establish a sign. Also, it is unnecessary for us to establish such sign, as we face no restrictions to function as MB. We, moreover, have the MB headquarters as a sign. For the previous reasons, we do not think about establishing a political sign. We are well-reputed in Sudan under the MB title. Officially, we are registered as the Muslim Brotherhood Party.
Does that mean MB is confined to itself and includes MB members only?
* Anyway, it is a party. What is the problem to work under its banner; especially that it has the same title of the group?
** When we create a political sign for the group, like Islamic Action Front or Ar-Rashad Party or MB gathering, our brothers’ experience in political action can apply to this sign, and we can accept those who do not abide by the MB method. It is unconditional that a member of the party is MB member, in other words, every MB member is a party member but every member is not MB member. Up to now, we are still trying to reach this stage.
More important is that, if we create this sign, we will not be in a strong position that helps us to control it. Clearly, we fear that if we create this sign and the Sudanese people are interested in the political side, all people will join. Thus, this sign will be like other parties. In order to establish this sign, there shall be a strong and well-organized group, in which there is the sufficient, and well-educated cadre to cope with political issues.
* But how can the government deal with them?
** In Sudan, MB are witnessing a better security situation than other MB movements all over the world. As MB, we justly face no problems with the ruling regime since 1989 to date. As for other political parties, no political prisoners are found now in Sudan as is the case in Egypt. Detentions are carried out on the level of students, through whom some armed movements are trying to shake the security stability inside universities.
* As you have a political party and you are participating in the government, do mass media express your points of view?
* MB media inside Sudan is still weak. Up to now, we do not have the effective, strong media. On one hand, we are preparing ourselves in the phase of internal formation and organization of the internal lines. On the other hand, we first rely, as other MB movements, on mosque platforms as mechanism of ours. We have a website, constructed under the title of MB in Sudan. Also, we organize seminars and sessions. Recently, we have started to hold press conferences. We are thinking about establishing a radio station, as now in Sudan we can have our own radio on FM. Actually, the financial ability forms a hindrance to the group in Sudan, though the government does not impose any restrictions in this regard.
What about Darfur crisis, and your attitude towards it?
"The US administration is seeking to occupy Darfur by the UN resolution. It does not like to help Darfur as alleged," said Dr. Ali Gawish.
He added that the Darfur crisis was a normal dispute among some tribes on some areas of lands and farms. However, this dispute develops into the status quo; reflected in a semi-civil war. This was aggravated by shaking security. What is strange is that, the Darfur issue has been very quickly internationalized and referred to the Security Council and the United Nations (UN). If we look at the Southern issue that continued for many years, we will find that it was referred to the SC and the UN very late.
Gawish thought that this speed is attributed to that West Sudan, including Drfur, is rich in natural resources, like petroleum, uranium, etc which makes it the focus of Western countries seeking to control and make use of such resources.
Gawish pointed out that the US administration is seeking the military intervention in Darfur under the auspices of the UN. The SC resolution No. 1706, shows the UN support for the occupation and a new colonization approved by the UN.
"There are many attempts targeting Sudan, its resources and division. There is a plan to reorganize the situation of the region, to render it weak and to protect the Israeli security," he confirmed. Nour Al Dayem expressed his belief that the Zionist and Jewish organizations are working behind raising the issue of Darfur and pressurizing the Sudanese government to implement those plans.
Gawish welcomed the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) approval to extend the task of the African force in the Darfur region till the end of this year.
"The Sudanese MB declared clearly its attitude, reflected in the MB opposition to any foreign intervention in the Sudanese affairs. Darfur problem is an internal one, whose internationalization harms Sudan," said Gawish about the Sudanese MB attitude towards resolution 1706.
"Abuja Agreement is a step on the right path. All have to abide by it so as to maintain the unity of Sudan on the levels of land and people," stated Gawish in respect of the MB view of solving the humanitarian tragedy in Darfur?
"Of course, it is impossible to unify the opinion of the Sudanese people. However, such votes are limited and very few. Most people n Sudan are against the intervention of international or other forces in Darfur or other regions of Sudan," added Gawish with regard to some political parties approval of the existence of international forces in Darfur.