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Full English Translation of Dr. Mohamed Morsi's Interview on Dream TV with Wael Ibrashi
Full English Translation of Dr. Mohamed Morsi's Interview on Dream TV with Wael Ibrashi
Dream TV aired (Fri 2 Dec) an interview conducted by presenter Wael Ibrashi with Dr. Mohamed Morsi, Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in which he touched on all the events of the first phase of Egyptian parliamentary elections and refuted all the charges made – regarding the party - by a number of political players. Many visitors of Ikhwanweb.com requested a translation of the interview. We, therefore, publish the following – a translation of the full interview.
Wednesday, December 14,2011 10:57
IkhwanWeb

 Dream TV aired (Fri 2 Dec) an interview conducted by presenter Wael Ibrashi with Dr. Mohamed Morsi, Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in which he touched on all the events of the first phase of Egyptian parliamentary elections and refuted all the charges made – regarding the party - by a number of political players. Many visitors of Ikhwanweb.com requested a translation of the interview. We, therefore, publish the following – a translation of the full interview.


Wael Ibrashi:
 
Has the Muslim Brotherhood hijacked the Revolution and the State? Or are these simply allegations made by failing politicians and frustrated despots who do not believe in ballot boxes? Will the Muslim Brotherhood try to change the shape of society in Egypt? Why is the Brotherhood determined to form the next government, while the military insists that appointing the government is its responsibility, according to the constitutional declaration?

 All these questions and concerns will be discussed with  Dr. Mohamed Morsi, Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).
 
Welcome Dr. Morsi

 Dr. Mohamed Morsi, FJP Chairman:
 
Thank you, Wael
 
Ibrashi:

 
Dr. Morsi, I want to start with some information and data first, the game of election results, people have been very preoccupied with the results. But what I want are the final figures. Some talk about a wide-sweeping win for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) represented in its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the candidate list of the FJP, as well as MB candidates for the ‘individuals’ seats. How many votes has the Brotherhood won so far?
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Gracious. First, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere greetings to all Egyptian people and my special greetings to the judiciary, the army and the police for protecting and safeguarding the elections, and providing such a high level of safety and security. The Egyptian people are now celebrating their blessed revolution, the January 25 popular uprising, and perform their duty and demand their full rights. My sincere greeting to all and you, too, Wael, your program and your TV channel, for this interest and the objectivity we see while viewing the election results.

Ibrashi:

 I'm glad that this is the first program to show the results during the electoral process and beyond.
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
Well, with regard to the elections results, so far, all candidate lists have been announced officially, except for one list in Alexandria and 3 lists in Cairo where sorting is still underway until now. Therefore, the results announced so far are for the candidate-lists in 9 governorates.
 
Ibrashi:
 
How many votes has the Brotherhood won?

 
Dr. Morsi:
 
So far, voting for FJP lists has reached 38%, with other parties following behind, but the distance is not too long. In fact, the results are reassuringly close and balanced, indicating that Egypt is moving towards a Parliament representative of all the people. We are all delighted for this. The overall scene is one of balance between all parties, stakeholders and the various political currents.
 
Ibrashi:

 Balance and not a wide-sweep win? Some talk about a real wide-sweep for the FJP.
 
D. Morsi:
 
No sweeping wins. Until now, the FJP won 38% - perhaps even 40%, by the time counting ends in the remaining constituencies. The Nour Party has nearly 30% or 28% of the votes, and after that there is the Egyptian Bloc with 19%.Then there are other parties with varying votes. This balance assures all. This is an indication of the rest of the election phases. After all, this phase is not any different from the remaining two. There is some kind of substantive representation reflecting the real scene and the Egyptian people. I do not think anyone was expecting something very different from this, if they knew the nature of Egyptian society, the distribution of power, the nature of the current situation in Egypt, and the local, regional and international climate and conditions. There are many factors that control and impact the scene. But the Egyptian people are the biggest winner in the defence of their freedom.

 Ibrashi:
 
Some will not regard these results in this light. They will combine the Nour Salafi party and the FJP, together, saying that they represent mainstream Islamic current. Certainly, when those are put together, it is a sweeping victory, and a large gap between you and the other parties?
 
D. Morsi:
 
If we look at the scene, now during the election, we’d find several alliances. There certainly is no electoral alliance between the Salafi Nour party and the FJP – founded by the Muslim Brotherhood for all Egyptians. This does not mean that there is any division or enmity between us. Meanwhile, the FJP is in a coalition with about 10 other parties, including a liberal, a leftist and a nationalist party, as well as a combination of other parties – in the Democratic Alliance for Egypt (DAE). On the other hand, the Salafi Nour party is in another different alliance, with a group of other parties. Why should anyone now want to combine the two together to try to show a distorted picture that may not reflect reality, just to frighten some or make them worry that Islamists will meet and dominate?
 
Parliaments, throughout the world, and in Egypt also, are not formed on the basis of ideologies, but on the basis of political offering, perception and vision. Now, some may be actually convinced of these fears they talk about, whereas others may have certain ulterior reasons and motives. In any case, the reality of the situation is that the FJP is in a coalition and the Nour party is in another different coalition. There is, in fact, yet another third coalition. The three alliances compete in fair and honest competition. All of Egypt now celebrates this healthy competition, not forgetting the other parties that also compete in the arena, have their own supporters and have achieved victory in some places.
 
Ibrashi:
 
How many seats has the Muslim Brotherhood won, so far?

 D. Morsi:
 
The first phase contains 168 seats: 112 for party candidate lists, and 56 for ‘individuals’. The FJP has 36 seats and 20 candidates in ‘individuals’. In the coalition – not the FJP alone – we have 112 seats. The lists are now closed. So, it’s almost 38% or 40%, or approximately 40 seats for the DAE lists - not the FJP alone. As for ‘individuals’ seats, so many candidates face run-off voting. This is due to the huge number of ‘individual’ candidates, which makes it very difficult to win outright, from the first round. A couple of seats have been won, e.g. Dr. Akram Al-Sha’er in Port Said and Ramadan Omar in Helwan with Mustafa Bakri. I believe the final figure is about 45 seats for ‘individuals’, in addition to the DAE lists, which includes the FJP and others. Altogether, I believe we have about 40% of the seats, for lists and individuals.
 
Ibrashi:

 Before getting into the subject of forming the government, I want to talk about the position of the Wafd Party. The party’s paper today attacked the Muslim Brotherhood strongly, claiming that the upcoming parliament is one of ‘heaven and hell’! It also put the Muslim Brotherhood and the Copts in the same trench and charged them that they joined hands to sabotage Egypt in the elections. The Wafd Party is waging a campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood, accusing it of using religion in the electoral process. What is your answer to that?
 
D. Morsi:
 
Al-Wafd newspaper represent the Wafd Party?!
 
Ibrashi:

Statements made by Dr. Sayed Badawi, Wafd Party Chairman, are in line with that, too.
 
D. Morsi:
 
Not to the same extent! I cannot imagine Dr. Sayed Badawi saying things like “parliament of heaven and hell”. These are weird words, alien to the Egyptian scene. Furthermore, this does not reflect reality at all. Egyptians now do not think in terms of Muslims versus Copts, never! And they should not! Egyptians think in terms of political visions and orientations as the country goes through the current chaotic transitional period onto order and stability. If the situation continues like this, such words are very negative. They cannot possibly serve the interest of this homeland. No-one should say this kind of thing, neither Muslims, nor non-Muslims, like our brothers the Copts, and no party – neither the FJP or any other can say that Egypt can be divided on the basis of ‘heaven or hell’ or ‘Muslim or Christian’! This is a badly confused, ill-conceived and terribly off-the-mark estimate of the situation.
 
We must be aware that we are all in one and the same boat. The same homeland. It’s like a ship that was prevented, for so long, from sailing out in the waters of this world. She was tied with heavy chains that the people of this revolution smashed. Now, as she sets off, let's all put our hands together to help guide it in the right direction, where a good wind blows, and clear water flows. Our ship, our homeland will survive, and will forge forward on a long journey, and it will carry all the Egyptian people.

Ibrashi:

But at the polls partisan and political interests may well override interests of the country. Beautiful words and a great concept – one ship and one homeland – but some will say, in the end, after the elections, the Brotherhood will serve its partisan and political interests.

 Now, before moving on to other points, the Wafd Party was allied with you in the DAE, and then broke away from the coalition. Do you think the Wafd Party lost by leaving the alliance?

 Dr. Morsi:

The Wafd Party was with us in the DAE, which is a political coalition, in the first place. Even as Wafd left the coalition’s electoral candidate list, we  -including Dr. Sayed Badawi and other Wafd Party figures – were determined for the political alliance to continue. As for the separation in electoral endeavours, it was very difficult to continue electoral alliance because of the desire of many members of the Wafd and other parties, including the FJP, to exercise political action in this historical phase in which they found long-lost freedom. However, the huge numbers of politicians involved, and the strong desires of all these, created a state of chaos and confusion. It was impossible to create a candidate list – by law limited to 332 names – to represent all of these. It was the Wafd Party’s choice and decision to go it alone, run the elections on its own. Later, we all met, several times, and there was an emphasis always, by Dr. Sayed Badawi and other Wafd leaders, that the political alliance continues. 
 
 I believe that, during the elections, there is a certain psychological state that affect some of us, as a result of the stresses and pressures of the elections, as well as blurred vision in vague situations, during the electoral process. Sometimes, people change completely. I think this situation will be over soon after the elections, and we will look, all of us, to the future. The elections are not over yet. Why is this hysteria and antagonism instatements and action?!This is all so inappropriate, negative and pointless, it serves no purpose. Neither will it stop the ship of the homeland. That will sail on, steered and supported by all of us, not the Muslim Brotherhood alone or the Salafis alone or our brothers the Copts alone. But all of them together with the many Egyptians who do not belong to any of them. They started on January 25.They all wish to push the wheels of progress in their own homeland, just like the rest of the countries of the world.
 
Ibrashi:
 
Calculating gains and losses, one can see that the Wafd Party has suffered a great loss in the first phase of the elections. It was supposed to be the Liberal alternative to the Islamist trend, in the sense that it should’ve attracted the votes of all those who did not want to vote for the Islamic movement. Then, again, there emerged the Egyptian Bloc with its liberal candidate list, as another alternative. Do you think it was better for Wafd to remain allied with the Muslim Brotherhood and the FJP in the elections?
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
Elections always have their special conditions and circumstances. Politicians cannot just work for elections in just one ‘season’. They must prepare things long before that. All over the world, political parties prepare themselves years before the election. The fact is: preparing for the elections earlier on makes the electoral process easier for the parties, coalitions and independent candidates alike. Obviously, those involved in public work know the nature of public work and the nature of Egyptian society and the Egyptian people. The Egyptian people are highly enlightened and aware. They have now grown and reached maturity, and can tell what is good for them. Therefore, as we address the realities of the Egyptian society politically, we must engage all Egyptians in solving problems. We cannot work in isolation from the public, then – in the days of the election – begin talking about interests, views, visions and programs. That is not enough. Politicians and political parties must spread within society, share the lives of the Egyptian people, and shape with them the political, community and popular comprehensive system. Public work is an integral part of all that. We should encourage each other to do that. Some parties do that already, whilst some are vulnerable in this respect. Certain parties never did any of that yet.
 
As I’ve already mentions, elections are not resolved in ‘election seasons’ only, especially in times of freedom and real democracy in which we live today, by the Grace of God. Politicians must prepare for them years beforehand. And invariably, the best and greatest way to prepare for the elections is to live with the people, get to know their problems and concerns. A party’s members are part of the community. So, if a party has 100,000 or 500,000 members or more or less – those should be involved with their fellow-citizens, rich and poor, young and old, farmers and workers, professionals or statesmen, and so on. That is the fabric of society. A political party must live with the community, experience the state of society and interact with the people. This would convince people to join and support them, help achieve success for their programs and initiatives, and give them their votes. Then, obviously, if the people do not like them, they can choose others. Interaction with the community is what qualifies any party for success. When the FJP, Wafd or any other party makes its political offerings to the community in the election process, the people can tell if they are good enough. We seek a steady march, not a confused errand.
 
Ibrashi:
 
Has the Wafd Party lost by breaking away from your coalition? Is that what we have seen in the elections?
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
Perhaps the second and third phases will be different. Let's wait until the end of the rest of the election phases, and then assess the whole situation. Let’s not rush things.
 
Ibrashi:
 
Some will say that strong voting for the Islamists was also in protest against the church’s purported promotion of certain candidate lists. The Church denies such claims. But, in any case, the effect has become a reality, in the street, with some people saying:“If the church paid worshippers to vote for certain candidates, we will vote for the Islamists, in protest. Do you think this interpretation has any validity? Have some people voted for you as a protest against the so-called Church lists, which were circulated in the street?
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
In Egypt, today, I believe people are more discerning, less gullible. Egyptians are now more enlightened. I believe the vast majority of them decide who they’ll vote for, well before the election day. With the post-revolution mood prevailing in Egypt, with the new understanding, consciousness and awareness, I cannot imagine that the attitudes and reactions of the nation can sway so rapidly.

 Ibrashi:
 
Yes, but we see certain impulse factors influence some people?
 
Dr. Morsi:

Impulse factors, and I’m not sure how real those may be, would probably have too marginal an effect. Passionate reactions do not create strong or lasting determination. Passion quickly disappears, with people restoring their original reasoned outlook. So, we should not build on uncertain information, or emotional concepts that might affect a very small proportion of the public. If that information is correct, still it should not affect the electoral process. On the other hand, supporters of Islamic groups, currents and movements, like the Muslim Brotherhood, know those a long time before the elections. They know the reality of the situation, and act wisely. We must respect the will of the Egyptian people and appreciate the awareness of Egypt's 20 million citizens who turned out on February 11. I would say that there is not a single household in Egypt, Muslim or Christian, rich or poor, farmer or worker, young or old, who did not have at least one member of the family come out to participate in the revolution. 

We have seen and heard, as we lived the revolution, how a father would awaken his children and drive them to Tahrir Square or similar areas in other governorates, to partake in the revolution. Also, in March we witnessed how the people highlighted their will clearly to the whole world, very quickly after the revolution, when 18 million Egyptians came down to vote for the Constitutional Declaration and the Constitution. In fact, I was told 2 million people were not able to cast their votes because the time allowed for the referendum was too short. Even today, more than 8 million voters turned out in the first phase of the elections, out of a total 17 million eligible voters in this stage. If turnout keeps this way, we expect 25 or 30 million out of 50 million voters joining the electoral process, which is equivalent to 60% in the first snapshot or masterpiece of the Egyptian people in a good healthy climate of freedom. I believe we cannot trivialise the role or lay to waste the capabilities of people with this level of awareness, this strength of will-power, this ability to act in a refined patriotic manner, by saying that a certain faction acted impulsively due to certain action by another faction.

 Ibrashi:
 
Does this mean you did not worry about the church lists?
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
We do not have the so-called church lists. There are no so-called Azhar lists or Muslim lists. Indeed, for the 1st constituency in Shubra el-Sahel, the FJP candidate list has two Christian brothers, and also our Christian brother Amin Iskandar in list number 3, which has 10 candidates, and we have the Christian brother Sameh Silwan in list 7.We do not divide our homeland on the basis of Muslims and Christians. We work on the basis of comprehensive political visions, outlooks, approaches, programs and initiatives, which all – in the end – have one purpose: building a modern, advanced, strong Egypt, whose people love one another, differ on some issues but never turn on one other, never use heinous methods to fuel the fires of sedition in the homeland with such statements which may serve only the interests of perhaps very few people. We need to go beyond this kind of quarrel, and accept the will of the Egyptian people. I have to accept the will of the Egyptian people, all the Egyptians, even if they do not grant me what I want. That is the meaning of democracy. This is the broad meaning of the Shura (Islamic consultation) concept. Democracy does not mean absolute consensus every time. If absolute consensus were possible for all things, there would be no need for competition. Majority will always suffice.
 
We need to take into consideration the fact that we will sometimes differ in perception, vision, the means we use, the mechanisms we adopt, and the strategies we employ. We may so differ, but need to agree that we are all sailing in one ship, we are but one people, one nation in one homeland. Our  beliefs are, and so are our ideologies and our frames of reference; but we share one motherland and one essential reference that is Egypt. Thus the whole world should see us: one integral block, not many confused and disintegrated parts where it can target the vulnerable cracks, however small, to put its nose in and make things worse. We accept our people’s choice. We are with all Egyptians in whole-hearted celebration of democracy’s first fruit. Even if it did not grant me my wish, I'd be very happy to see the will of my Egyptian fellow-citizens realised. Naturally, I would hope to have a majority in the elections – I am in a competing political party – but when it happens like that, it is excellent, wonderful.
 
We will endeavour to serve the best interests of Egypt, our homeland, and its noble people. Let me declare here, before everyone who watches or hears me now, that the FJP is in an electoral alliance, and this alliance we respect and appreciate: it is the Democratic Alliance for Egypt, with 10 parties now. We have not taken a single step outside of this coalition until this moment, and will not, because we know the meaning of an electoral coalition. When parliament is formed, after the 3 election phases have come to an end, there comes a time for parliamentary coalitions. That is the next stage. Members of the current electoral alliance are necessarily the members of the parliamentary coalition. But will there be other coalitions in parliament? We have not really seen the final map of parliament yet.
 
Ibrashi:
 
This should reassure everyone that you will not monopolise parliamentary majority as the Muslim Brotherhood, the group or movement, but will work with the parties of the alliance, an alliance which can be expanded in the future, to perhaps include the Wafd Party and other liberal parties within the People’s Assembly?
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
This is true. That is the meaning of a coalition: that people agree and unite.
 
Dr. Morsi Interview With Wael Ibrashi 

Part Two
 
Ibrashi:

 What’s going on people’s minds is that the Muslim Brotherhood has already achieved a sweeping victory…

As we’re discussing Christian fears, let’s take this call from Michael Mounir who had a statement in which he said: “Now, it is evident that Egypt has fallen in the grip of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Ibrashi:
 
We’re having problems with Michael Mounir’s connection. Until this is sorted out, let me ask you: what about the fears of some Christians that society at large will change and will affect them? And whether we agree or not, the Islamists will have their Islamic frame of reference, which may affect or even contradict the rights of Christians. They are talking about very clear issues, though not publicly. Even the issue of Copts voting in the current elections, although some consider it a very positive thing, I see something negative there, which is: if they turn out to vote in a sectarian spirit, to serve only the interests of the Christian community, to vote only for certain candidates, certain blocs, or lists, if that collective voting takes a sectarian perspective… well, although Christian turnout breaking all records is a very positive phenomenon, what’s very negative is that their vote is actually sectarian, reflecting their fear for their rights and interests, which they think will be at risk if Islamists gain victory?
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
As a matter of fact, I do not want to ever allow myself to talk about reassuring our fellow Christians, because that would imply that they are not owners of the homeland. The Copts are owners of this homeland, just like Muslims. What does ‘reassurance’ mean? I, too, would like to be reassured. This concept is just out of the question! If I go to my brother and tell him:“I assure you. Do not fear me”, I think I’d be slighting him. I believe he has inherent rights. I believe he is part and parcel of the fabric of the Egyptian society, and has been for more than 1400 years. He is certainly just as Egyptian as I am, and has as much a right to this homeland as I am. This fear is most probably not real. I have Christian friends and colleagues university professors, students and neighbours. The FJP has about 100 Christian members. In fact, certain media sometimes try to create this fear.
 
Ibrashi:
 
But there is a problem related to fears that you surely touch, even if you say they are not real. There are fears. The evidence is that the vote was sectarian. Yes, Christians took to the polls, but under the banner: “We will give our votes to those who support the Church’s views and Christians’ rights”. The vote was against the mosque. It was sectarian, and we should not deny that?

 
Dr. Morsi:

 
Well, though I repeat myself, I say: if there are groups of our fellow Christians, or for that matter our Muslim brothers, who have certain attitudes and ideas, who go down to the ballot box to do their envisaged duty, I will take the positive side. I think they are a small minority, if they exist at all. And if they do, we must find a way to reduce the phenomenon. We must gently persuade them to shed these fears. We must accommodate, not cheat, one another. We must accept one another. If some worry that the Church is directing Christians to vote for their own people, who serve their own interests, I believe that serving their interests is also serving mine. Their main interest is to be free in their faith and this is essentially guaranteed and safeguarded in Islam.
 
Ibrashi:
 
If you get a parliamentary majority, will you accept and safeguard their Faith and their Book?
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
We are commanded, by God Almighty, to respect others' faiths, just as we respect our own. God Almighty granted all people the right and freedom to believe. People are free to believe in God or not to believe, not only Muslims or Christians. If God gave the people the right to freedom in such a tremendously important matter, what about less significant rights and freedoms?! They are obviously guaranteed. I find that, most often, foreign visitors, not Coptic Egyptians, ask this question. And I find myself repeating the same answer every time. Just for example, I would not hesitate to choose a Christian for the dean position of the college where I work, if he is honest. And I do know numerous Christian people who are honest, trust-worthy, very efficient and very competent and love their country.
 
Ibrashi:
 
You will collide with the Salafi Nour party, which says “No allegiance to a Christian. No Christian can occupy the post of president, governor or minister”?!
 
D. Morsi:
 
This is not a question of allegiance. Even if we are a group of Muslims working together, and the person in charge of the group is not a Muslim, there is no question of allegiance. Some people confuse concepts and sometimes demonstrate serious shallowness of vision, and I’m not accusing anyone in particular here. But we must distinguish between…
 
Ibrashi:

These are their openly declared ideas, stated also by Dr. Yasser Borhami.
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
What we’re talking about cannot be described as allegiance. I never heard that. The issue, in fact, is quite different. Perhaps this is neither the time nor place to address this issue; nor is there any need to address it now. Wisdom and common-sense dictate that we seek to address real situations on the ground, when we have an issue that needs addressing. Then, we discuss Islamic laws or jurisprudence relevant to that real issue. Right now, we do not have a real issue that needs addressing. We are talking about a boat, with Muslims and Christians aboard. We all got off to push the boat into the water, and then we all will jump back in. No-one will be left behind. No Egyptian, Muslim or Christian, can accept upon himself the guilt of leaving any of his brothers behind.
 
Ibrashi:
 
What is your take on “Christians are to be judged according to their faith”?
 
D. Morsi:
 
I re-iterate: this is the Islamic view. I’m not trying to appease anyone. I am just stating what the Lord of all Muslims, Christians and all others has commanded. The principles of Islamic law have already confirmed what we're saying now. It says that Christians and Jews have the right to be judged by rules and laws of their own faiths, in personal affairs like marriage, divorce, inheritance and social interaction amongst them. If we have to state this in a clearer, more official way, we will.
 
There is no real problem here. There is an illusion in the minds of some - not all - people. Those are trying to paint the whole community with a culture that is really alien to us all.
 
Ibrashi:
 
Michael Mounir, why do you foment false fears? Today, you said: “Now, it is evident that Egypt has fallen in the grip of the Muslim Brotherhood.” But that is just the people exercising free choice through the ballot boxes! This is the popular will! What are your real concerns now?
 
Michael Mounir, Chairman of Hayat Party, on the phone from the United States:

First I want to clarify two points: you mentioned that the Copts turned out and voted against the Mosque. This did not happen. As far as I know, they voted for the candidate they thought best for all. I know Copts in e.g. Assiut (Upper Egypt) who voted for the FJP. Even if they voted for the Egyptian bloc, most of the bloc’s candidates, if not all, are Muslims. Copts voted against the ideas that were on the lips of the group’s leaders. We all recall Sheikh Mohamed Abdullah, when he issued a fatwa in the MB’s Da’wa magazine prohibiting the building of churches in Egypt as a Muslim country. He also issued a fatwa for the exemption of Christians from military services. Many other MB leaders, in the past, said the same thing, that Copts have to pay Jizya (poll-tax or defence/protection tax). These Fatwas scare people. Now, Dr. Mohamed Morsi is speaking nice words of wisdom. If the Muslim Brotherhood is reviewing the movement’s thoughts and views, well.. they'll be in a leadership position in the community and not in the usual State Security cells, nor the National Party dungeons. Let them come out and tell the Copts: “We will not ask you to pay Jizya tax. You have the freedom of religious beliefs. You have the freedom to build churches. These should be declared and issued in an official manner by the group to reassure people. Then they should implement them on the ground.

 On the other hand, if you bring two or three Copts who have no conscience and would not defend Coptic issues or work for Coptic rights, and put them in ministerial positions, just to say there are Copts in the ministry, this will not work. This is exactly what the defunct National Party used to do.

Further, Coptic fears are not unfounded, they do have a living history. If the Muslim Brotherhood have reviewed their thoughts now, because I see all their leaders speak the same way as Dr. Morsi, everyone speaks in a wise and beautiful way, but has not yet been translated in action, on the ground, not in some official form that we can refer to in the future. Only the Fatwa opinions I talked about exist clearly, including the opinions of former leaders of the group. Those do frighten Copts; not to mention the Salafi Islamists. In fact, up till now, some Copts cannot differentiate between Salafi Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ibrashi:
 
These words reflect old deposits, regarding what was said by some leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Those fears, therefore, are born of these accumulations, and thus the Copts do have fears of the Islamic movement gaining a parliamentary majority?
 
Michael:
 
Yes, not only concerns, but horror among the people.
 
Ibrashi:
 
Why is this fear? Dr. Morsi’s words remove all doubts and allay all fears.

Michael:
 
Dr. Morsi’s words contradict those of Dr. Subhi Saleh, which he said in the past. When is the rhetoric going to be translated into real action? People can feel the real effect of these words when they are announced officially. I think the Muslim Brotherhood should start by preparing a formal document to reassure or calm or clarify the positions adopted by leadership in the past.
 
Ibrashi:
 
Why did you describe Christians as living in terror?
 
Michael:

Because of communications I received, especially in the last few days. The position of the Brotherhood on Dr. Selmi’s initiative is somewhat confusing. If we say that the Copts are free to exercise their right of worship, Dr. Selmi’s initiative – with the exception of Articles 9 and 10 – was accepted by all except the Muslim Brotherhood. This made us wonder:“Why would the Muslim Brotherhood reject? Unless they have another goal within the second Article!? This means that we’re going back to full application of Sharia (Islamic law). It also means removal of the text ‘Non-Muslims are judged by the rules of their own faiths’. It means we delve into matters of personal status. These are the worries of the Copts for the future, along with the statements that I discussed with some Muslim Brotherhood leaders ‘live’, regarding tourism in Egypt turning into health spas and medical treatment kind of tourism, and stopping the stock market, with investments coming from Arab countries, because stock exchange is Haram (unlawful) and so on. All these things will harm the economy and harm Copts who work in these areas.”

Ibrashi:
 
Michael Mounir mentioned the word ‘terror’ as he heard it from some Christians fearing statements and Fatwa opinions from the past. Yes, the words you say, Dr. Morsi, are reassuring, but there was a different language, so to say, spoken by some leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Fatwas that Christians should pay Jizya taxes. They also have concerns about your vision on tourism and the Stock Exchange, banks and hotels?!
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
To start with, there are three key points here: All those old views and opinions mentioned now were thoroughly explained at the time. The meanings conveyed here are absolutely wrong. The Muslim Brotherhood issued statements and explanations, regarding all those. Since 1994, there has been a document detailing all these views and opinions, explained and refuted and answered very clearly. This is one point. We do not want to continue to drag the past that has been cleared in time, and try to re-examine it with current criteria. To judge the past with today’s criteria is pure injustice for both the present and the past. As I’ve just said, those past statements were clarified by those who issued them. They explained what they meant very clearly and very honestly.
 
Mr. Khatib and Mr. Mustafa Mash’hoor taught me how the Copts have much more rights than they themselves ever imagined. Mr. Mustafa Mash’hoor, once Muslim Brotherhood Chairman, who is said to have announced the Jizya issue, in the wrong context, and who refuted the claims and charges made at the time, and who was not a ‘media man’, used to say to us when we were young people:“Allah does not forbid you – about non-believers who do not fight you because of religion nor drive you out of your homes – from dealing kindly and justly with them. Indeed Allah loves those who act justly.” [Quranic Chapter 60, Mumtahinah: verse 8]
 
He also used to tell us: “Kindness comes before justice, because justice is ‘dry’ and kindness includes love, compassion and harmony”. That is what we learned from those leaders. We do not want to continue talking about the past like this, out of context. I respect Michael’s opinion and thank him. We need to root out such issue that have already been dealt with in time.

The second point is: Sometimes certain statements are made in the wrong context, at the wrong time, or with the wrong wording. If anyone at the FJP issues statements that contradict what I say, I personally have the courage to explain and apologise for such errors.

Ibrashi:

Michael wants to know your opinion about tourism?
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
Let me continue with the third point: Dr. Ali Selmi’s so-called initiative has a short and not so distant history. When he was a representative of the Wafd Party with us in the DAE, and before he became the deputy prime minister, we issued the Democratic Alliance Code of Honour, in the presence of Dr. Ali Selmi. That was a document with 22 points including all Michael wants and all Christians and Muslims, and also including the Muslim Brotherhood and all other citizen want. 23 partieswere signatories to this Democratic Alliance Code of Honour.

We also were signatories to the Azhar Document, together with more than 50 other parties and stakeholders. That document, in the first Article, mentioned Egypt as a national state and a constitutional modern democracy. Modern suffices the social contract of a modern state: the nation is the source of power and chooses its leadership and code of reference from to the people and the country, and not from anything imported or otherwise. The modern state in the true sense of the modern state.
 
People are sometimes confused by what is described as the religious State. This term bothers me  a lot, because in Islam there is no religious or theological state in the Western sense, and as mentioned by some brothers who consider themselves intellectuals and want to confuse people even more. There is no so-called theocracy or religious state in the Islamic perspective at all. A state with Islamic reference is necessarily a modern democratic state. There is no difference between Shura (Islamic consultation) and democracy in selection mechanisms and the source of power, in authority itself and its circulation. The principles of Islamic law do not only mean jurisprudence, but the clear-cut provisions of the law and not the provisions of the doctrine. Those principles mean the conclusive provisions with clear significance, which means the general framework. This gives non-Muslims, including our Christian brothers, their full rights, just as they have their duties. They are not to be marginalised, and they certainly are not second-class citizens. All of us were tenth-class citizens in Egypt before January 25, because of the former regime. Looking at the future, now, we remember: we joined hands in revolution. That is an important point.
 
So, Dr.Selmi’s initiative was resurrected for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time. This had 22 points we agreed on, earlier, with two added points that caused a lot of controversy, once again. All parties and stakeholders agreed on rejecting that initiative. Then things got chaotic. It looked as if we did not agree on Dr. Selmi’s initiative. No! I did sit down with Dr. Selmi and discussed the matter with him. Only yesterday, I handed people a document written by Dr. Selmi and in his own hand-writing, which detailed all we agreed upon in recent weeks. On Thursday, before 18 and 17 November 2011, at the request of the Prime Minister, I went to his office with Salafi Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Maksoud. The Minister of Interior was there, too. We agreed completely with Dr. Selmi 100% on the 22 points covered in the Azhar Document, which we had already agreed in the Democratic Alliance, and which was called Dr. Selmi’s first initiative or document. Thus, everyone signed their agreement on that document.
 
Ibrashi:
 
Egypt is a modern democracy!
 
Dr. Morsi:

I will say four words, clear in every sense: a national constitutional modern democratic State. The principles of Sharia are a main source of legislation. Non-Muslims who belong to divine religions have the right to be ruled and judged by laws of their faiths in their own personal affairs. All people are equal in rights and duties of citizenship and public freedoms, democracy and the right to engage in work and all other rights. There is no disputing any of that at all.

The disagreement was over imposing this on the upcoming parliament. We did not even know the composition of that Parliament. Now you see how the upcoming parliament is shaping up. It has the full spectrum of Egyptian society: The FJP – for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafi Nour – with the Jam’aa Islamiya, and other national coalitions and stakeholders, patriotic politicians and brothers who call themselves nationalists or leftists. The first snapshot clearly shows the general outlay. But we did not know how the parliament will be like. Even now, we cannot really tell for sure what it is like.
 
We said that the Egyptians revolted in order to regain their will; we do not wish to handcuff that will or put it in a straight jacket. We are committed to the points listed in the Azhar Document or in the DAE Code of Honour, or even Dr. Ali Selmi’s first initiative, fully and completely. We would defend that with our own souls, and we do not go back on our words.
 
Ibrashi:
 
Egypt is a national constitutional modern democracy, and there is no place for the religious state concept?
 
Dr. Morsi:
 
Absolutely. The religious state, in the Western sense does not exist for us. This misconception was translated from the culture of the Middle Ages and conveyed to us to use it for ourselves, thus vilifying ourselves inadvertently.
 
Ibrashi:
 
Michael has a lot to say about tourism!

Dr. Morsi:

I am very willing to discuss anything with Michael and all Christians, as well as people of any other religion or faction, to talk together as Egyptians, not as Muslims and Christians, to see how we serve the interests of this homeland.
 
As for ministries and the government that Michael mentioned, this talk is premature. This all depends on the composition of the upcoming parliament, and this also depends on the transitional phase. Furthermore, no-one can really be sure about this, because no-one knows what will happen in the future, in the shape of parliament now or later or after the presidential elections. Things are still far from settled.
 
I hope that we can trust one another, because if we start off with distrust, it will be difficult for us to communicate and interact with one another. Some will have to show humility. I will show humility, so the other can feel comfortable. But, as I’ve already said, I am against saying “I assure you” to my brother. Because he is like me. When I say “Do not fear me”, I think I’d be slighting him, robbing him of his rights. You and I are in each other’s arms. So let us not go beyond reality.
 
When talking about the Egyptian Bloc, we’re talking about 18% or 20% in the first phase of the parliamentary elections. Evidently, we are not talking about something little or trivial. The FJP is talking about 38% or 40%. The distance is not far between the two. We are talking about a realistic balance in the community with intricate details.
tags: Morsi / Freedom and Justice Party / FJP / Parliamentary Elections / Ikhwanweb / Muslim Brotherhood / MB / Revolution / MB Candidates / January 25 / Parliament / Liberal / Tahrir Square / Democratic Alliance / Wafd / Copts / Constitution / United States / Tourism / Presidential Elections / Ibrashi / Constitutional Declaration / Nour Party / DAE / FJP Candidate / People’s Assembly / Christians / National Party / Selmi / Azhar Document / Former Regime / Muslims and Christians
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