Dr. Mohamed Habib, the first deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), acknowledged that there is a mistake in the wording of paragraph I the MB party program about forming an authority of clerics that offers its views to parliament, an issue that was criticized by political circles and experts saw it as similar to Iran"s Expediency Discernment Council of the System.
Habib said that the opinion of this authority of clerics is advisory, not binding, and that the section related to the formation of a an authority of clerics included also that the People"s Assembly takes the committee" opinion, which is actually wrong because the right wording says that the People"s Assembly has the freedom to take or not to take the opinion of the committee, i.e it isn"t compulsory .
Habib denied that this formation of the authority of clerics or Ulema Council is a copycatting of the Iranian model. We wanted this council to be formed from Al-Azhar or any institution affiliated to it. We wanted to be a technical committees like those formed in a ministry and that its opinion is advisory, not binding, like the Islamic Research Institute for example. He pointed out that the Azhar council should be independent from the executive authority to give its views without any domination.
Habib added that:" We never said that this committee has any control, domination or authority. We see that The People"s Assembly is the only body that has the right in legislation and in enacting laws.
Regarding the group"s reported rejection to introduce any amendments to the program, specially those related to the program"s rejection to women or Copt the right to assume the presidential office, Habib said:" We actually sought all views before approving the program and this made us send it first to about 50 politicians, intellectuals and researchers. We sent it to the elite so that they give us their opinions to enrich it.
Habib confirmed that the group did not send its program to political circles " just to say that we are open to the other or for tactical or political purposes. What we did was an initial reading to be followed by other wordings and more amendments that may include additions or deletions or even introducing changes to some issues and points. Habib pointed out that the group gathers everything discussed by the media before sorting and classifying the discussed issues.
Habib did not exclude introducing key changes to the program. "We will hold dialogues and discussions in workshops with those elites who read the program to enrich it more". He said also that the group did not present a program for a national consensus between various political powers, but it is rather a program which is in line with the juristic options of the group. He said that the political program should be established on fiducial and moral values to be different from other secular programs.
Habib stressed that the MB program will not be a secular program. We have our constants and principles which are based on not separating the state from religion and that the state is civilian with an Islamic source of authority.
It is worth mentioning that a number of experts have criticized strongly the political party program of the Muslim Brotherhood and saw it as undemocratic especially in issues of the religious body and nominating women and Copts.