Speech by Mr. Muhammad Mahdi Akif,At the Iftar (Fast Breaking) Party
|Friday, October 14,2005 00:00|
|By Ikhwan web|
Speech by Mr. Muhammad Mahdi Akif
It gives me great pleasure to welcome our honourable guests from among Egypt’s prominent men and women. I would like to thank them all for accepting our invitation and joining us in our annual Ramadan iftar party. We hope that gatherings like these will continue and that the circle of dialogue and exchange of ideas between us and all those who are concerned with the best interests of this country and who are keen to see the Ummah (nation) advance and progress will extend further so as for us to make it attain the status its deserves among the nations and restore it, as it once was, a leading and pioneering nation that is a source of cultural and civilizational illumination for all humanity.
The honourable brothers and sisters,
It would please me to congratulate you on the occasion of the month of Ramadan, the month of fasting and piety: "O you who believe! Observing the fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become the pious." [The Holy Qur’an; Al-Baqara: verse 183]
This is the month during which the Heaven and the Earth communicated following six centuries of severance. Revelation came down with the Qur’an and the Light so as to attain for man his moral, familial and societal peace and organize for him all the aspects of his life at all levels. "The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guide for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)." [The Holy Qur’an; Al-Baqara: verse 185] "Indeed there has come to you from Allah a light and a plain Book wherewith Allah guides all those who seek His Good Pleasure to ways of peace, and He brings them out of darkness by His Will unto light and guides them to the Straight Way." [The Holy Qur’an; Al-Ma’idah: verses 15-16] It is the month of solidarity and unity, the month of patience and victory, for there will be victory without patience. "Victory comes with patience; relief comes after distress and after difficulty comes ease." This victory begins with the victory against one’s own self, the victory in resisting the temptation to indulge in material and to pursue lusts and desires and culminates in achieving victory against injustice, oppression and corruption. Whosoever succeeds in winning the battle in the fight against himself is worthy of achieving victory against his enemy. Ramadan has always been a season of decisive victories that turned the course of history and rectified the march of humanity toward truth, justice and good. The most prominent of these victories are the Grand Battle of Badr, the Conquest of Mecca and the Battle of ’Ayn Jalut, which saved humanity from the recalcitrant savage Mongolian aggression. Last but not least, by the will of Allah, came the battle of the tenth of Ramadan whose anniversary we celebrate these days; this is the battle waged by our valiant army in the name of Allah and with the slogan Allah-u-Akbar (Allah is Greatest) relying on two foundations:
- The first: Faith in Allah and putting trust in him;
- The second: Employing the products of science and technology and resorting to proper planning and training.
It was by virtue of this that the army crossed the Canal, liberated the land and achieved victory.
Our Iftar Party this year comes in the aftermath of grave events full of political dynamism in pursuit of genuine reform in the various aspects of life. Following half a century of domination by a despotic regime that derives its legitimacy from the use of force and from oppression; from the policy and authority, from falsely claiming to speak for the people, from confiscating civil liberties, from staying away from justice in legislation and the courts, from shackling the judiciary and endeavouring to politicize it by means of temptation and intimidation, from persecuting and excluding opponents in the shadow of emergency law, or what Dr. Ahmad Kamal Abulmagd calls "the law of death" – and I do not think that the man means only physical death, which has been the fate of several people who lost their lives under torture, but moral death to which the entire nation has been subjected and has as a consequence been forced to decline and regress until it occupied a bottom position among world nations in all fields: in the field of civil liberties and human rights, in the field of the openness of the elections, in the field of the independence of the judiciary, in the field of human development, in the field of instruction and ethics, in the field of education, culture and media, in the field of scientific research and university standard, in the field of transparency and the prevention of corruption, in the field of the economy with all its different branches including the low standard of living and average income, in the field of combating illiteracy, in the field of public health, in the fielding of controlling unemployment and last but not least in the field of the ’mondial’, which prides itself with a big zero.
All these matters have fruited corruption that continues to grow and flourish until it has become so entrenched and so wild as it perches on the rest of the kind and forbearing Egyptian people. A number of patriotic writers and thinkers had undertaken to call for reform and change. We too had come up with an initiative for reform but the regime listened to no one. However, under the pressure of the political dynamism which occurred within society in the aftermath of that period the regime responded, after a long interval of refusal and resistance, with an amendment to article 76 of the constitution with the effect that the president of the republic would be elected directly from among several candidates instead of conducting a referendum on a single person. Despite its smallness and inadequacy with regard to the demands of comprehensive reform, everybody considered this step a promising gesture that might open the door for more good things to come. However, those who come from deviant and despotic cultures have killed the hope people relished by the people for a while. They resorted to reformulating the article in a manner that emptied it of any meaningful content and turned the election process into a bad play whose conclusion is known before hand. They even came up with a dreadful innovation that set the articles of the constitution against each other; contradicting each other and nullifying each other. If injustice is a crime, and if the repetition of injustice is yet a bigger crime, it would follow that legislating injustice is the ugliest form of injustice because it become the basis for ordering people’s lives. What should we say, then, about the fortification of oppressive clauses by including them in the constitution so that no one has the ability to appeal against them or hope to have them changed or amended?
The various national and political parties, including at the very heart of them the Muslim Brotherhood, took the initiative of warning against the repercussions of such an action. Voices were lost, pens went dry, patience ran out and nothing remained for us but to take to the streets in the hope of making those that are deaf hear and those that are asleep wake up and those that are unjust be warned. The regime’s response was brutal as usual; three thousand members of the Muslims Brotherhood were detained and thrown into prison and some of them are still languishing in the darkness of the dungeons prominent among them is our beloved brother Dr. Essam El-Aryan, may Allah free them from their shackles and bring about their release. For us Allah suffices, and He is the best disposer of affairs.
The amended article was eventually subjected to a referendum and the result was declared. But the judges decided it was rigged; they announced that in a report published by them.
The General Assembly of the Judges’ Club convened and demanded that the bill pertaining to the judiciary, which they have been calling for since 1992, be issued. They also demanded the amendment of the law of political rights and the law of political parties and called for an end to the state of emergency and for allowing them to exercise their constitutional right to supervise elections and referenda from start to end. They did all of this with the aim of reviving the constitution, achieve a separation of powers, affirm the independence of the judiciary, accomplish political and legal reforms and exonerate themselves before God, before the people and before history from any responsibility for rigging the referenda and the elections which they decided have all been forged for the past fifty years, except for once. Successive governments have always maintained falsely that the elections were clean and that they were conducted under the supervision of the judiciary. The judges wished declare publicly that they had nothing to do with these forgeries and therefore should not be associated with this shame. They are still insistent on their demands, which are fully supported by the entire people. However, the government regrettably is still ignoring these demands and try to go round them in order to bury them alive while seeking to divide the judges and bring about discord among their ranks.
Afterwards, the presidential elections were held. Despite our objection to the amended clause in article 76 of the constitution, and despite knowing that the result had already been decided, we did take part in the elections and called on the people to participate. Our objective was to encourage the people to exit the cocoon of negativity and to get used to a positive attitude so as to combat forgery and regain the confiscated liberties and the usurped rights. Freedom and rights are struggled for and never offered free. The result came, and it is known to all of you. We are still waiting for the judges’ report assessing it. The oath taking ceremony was held and extending the presidency became a fait accompli.
Now, what is our stance and what is our duty?
We believe that:
- peaceful struggle for change and reform has started, the road ahead is long, and the process can neither be stopped nor reversed;
- reform requires combining the efforts of all the sincere ones without exclusion or alienation. Perfecting intentions and respecting sincere visions and opinions are the two ways toward combining these efforts. It was on this basis that we welcomed the efforts made to form the National Front which has included all the opposition political groups that seek reform emanating from the general principles upon which we all agree while respecting the private visions of each group on its own.
- We must agree on a new social contract in which the nation is the source of all powers and the ruler is an agent acting on behalf of the nation and not its master; he abides by the will of the nation, respects its frame of reference and the nation has the right to call him to account and to dismiss him. In addition, the nation has the right to elect the ruler and to appoint him so as to undertake the responsibility for the executive without undermining the legislative or the judiciary; the ruler should have the chance to rule for no more than two terms after which he must step down.
- We absolutely refuse the bequeathing of power irrespective of the label or the pretext or the format. We know with certainty – not to say that we are extremely sceptical – that the phrasing of the amendment to article 76 of the constitution and the refusal to amend article 77 were not only intended to facilitate the bequeathing process but also to perpetuate the bequeathing. This, God-willing, will not happen; together with all those who are sincere we shall vehemently resist it.
- We stand by the judges until all their just demands are met in fulfilment of freedom, security, tranquillity and stability in the society. We shall confront all the attempts to go round these demands or to compromise them or to negotiate over them. The Judges are the guardians of truth and justice; they are the people’s fortress against injustice, tyranny and oppression.
- We demand the immediate cancellation of the state of emergency by means of a legislative decision without waiting for it to expire in the middle of 2006. We also demand the repeal of all the infamous laws; we demand the immediate release of detainees and a retrial for those who have been imprisoned as a result of military court trials or state security court trials. They should be retried before normal courts and should also be compensated for what they have suffered.
- We demand a review of administrative imprisonment; around twenty thousand members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been victims of this measure during the past thirteen years. Some of these victims languished in prison some times for up to fifteen months pending investigation only to be freed without trial. Clearly, administrative detention has been used against us as a punishment without the due process of the law. Therefore, we demand that the prosecutor general be appointment via election in a manner that is approved by the judges instead of being appointed by the President of the Republic as has been the case so far.
- We call for political pluralism and for respecting the right of every political current to form its own party and publish its own newspaper. No administrative authority or false court should have the right to intervene so as to deny this right or tamper with it. The independent judiciary, as represented by the High Constitutional Court once it is free from the grip of the executive – should be the authority that decides what is inconsistent with the law or with the general accepted norms or the constituent characteristics of the society and decides what may be considered a violation of the rules governing peaceful action.
- We believe in and call for the peaceful alternation of power via ballot boxes within the framework of a constitutional parliamentarian republic.
- We call for transparency in the dispensation of public funds and for the publication of the budgets of all state civil institutions starting with the Presidency down to the smallest agency. We also call for the declaration of the fortunes of all the officials and their families from the top head downwards.
- We call for controlling unemployment and poverty which have bitten many people, particularly the youth who have become desperate and frustrated, and have removed from the hearts of many victims the sense of belonging and loyalty replacing it instead with hatred and perhaps hostility toward society. As such we call for taking these matters into consideration when legislating or when training or employing the youth. We also call for narrowing the gaps between the classes and call for activating Zakat as a religious duty and a social function provided its programme is run by a nongovernmental organization administered by respectable personalities known for their honesty and professionalism away from government bureaucracy and corruption.
Brothers and sisters,
We stand before decisive times in the history of this nation; we are approaching new parliamentary elections that may be free and fair and consequently produce an honest parliament that truly expresses the will of the people and is constitute a vehicle that will carry society forward along the path of reform to accomplish these objectives that we aspire to achieve, or may be like those that preceded them over the past century, and if that is the case we are then warned of the most terrible repercussions and the worst results for all of us; may Allah protect us and our nation from them. Therefore I deem it mandatory for all of us to take part in these elections with strength and to exhort the people to shake away the dust of apathy and participate in choosing its representatives so that the elected parliament is truly expressive of the people’s real will. We must also resist any attempts to rig the elections and should expose any forgery. In this regard, we would like to express our readiness to cooperate and coordinate with every single national faction and every party that is willing to coordinate with us and cooperate with us in that which is good and righteous and which may serve the interests of the nation.
Brothers and sisters,
The afore stated stance only emanates from the Islamic Shari’ah to which we refer and from which we derive guidance; for it sanctifies the freedom, dignity and sovereignty of man and pays attention to man’s essence as it does to his needs and necessities. The approach of the Islamic Shari’ah relies on consolidating man’s internal edifice on the foundations of the belief in God, in His Books, in his Law, in the Last Day and in Reckoning; on adhering to noble traits and good manners; on refining the personality through worship; and on the ordering and organization of various worldly affairs. All of this is done for the purpose of keeping man’s conscience alive through piety and the fear of God which should take precedence over the fear of the law. "Allah will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state themselves." [The Holy Qur’an: Al-Ra’d; verse 11] I reckon that many of our problems are problems of ethics and conscience. Whosoever is not deterred by education and refining will be deterred by the law. "Allah restrains through authority those who are not restrained by the Qur’an." It is for this reason that ethical reform should proceed in parallel with political, economic, social and education reform, etc.
Brothers and sisters,
As for the most important regional and international events, the question of Palestine comes first. Recent events have confirmed that we stand before a racist, colonial, terrorist and blood-thirsty enemy that is not even willing to give up the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; instead it has been endeavouring to devour more lands in the West Bank by setting up Zionist colonies to which Zionist settlers are brought from abroad while the Palestinians are held hostage behind a racist wall that snatches many of their lands despite the ruling by the International Court of Justice that the wall is illegitimate. Even when the Israeli troops withdrew from the Gaza Strip and even though Jewish settlements there were evacuated, this enemy continues to impose a siege on the Strip from the land, the sea and the air and has orchestrated criminal campaigns of murder, detention and destruction in both the West Bank and Gaza. In spite of all of this, this enemy continues to demand the Arabs and the Muslims to reward it for this limited withdrawal and continues to demand the Palestinian Authority to disarm the resistance factions as if the land and the will have been liberated and as if Jerusalem has been returned and the Palestinian state established. It is truly regrettable that some Arab and Islamic states have rushed to establish relations with the Zionist entity relinquishing their responsibility for the Palestinian cause, which is a cause for all the Muslims. Despite all of this, the Palestinians are still firm and steadfast paying the tax of blood and making the biggest of sacrifices so as to prove to the world that force alone, no matter who big, will not defeat the truth and that peoples who struggle for freedom do not die.
We have been enormously saddened by the regrettable events that took place between Palestinian Authority and Hamas; pure blood has been shed and many persons were wounded. From this place we call on everyone to appeal to wisdom and commonsense and not to draw weapons against each other but against the enemies so as not accomplish the objectives of the enemies while they watch.
It is our duty, brothers and sisters, that the issue of Palestine should never escape our attention; it should remain before us with all its dimensions. We must perceive of ourselves as standing with them in the same ditch. As such we must reject the normalization and urge people to maintain the boycott. We must provide what we can of assistance and ask the peoples of the countries whose rulers are rushing to establish relations (with Israel) to pressure them to stop. We must also express our feelings of support for our brothers and anger toward the Zionists and those who stand behind them with all means and forms.
Governments should work sincerely in order to advance their countries and elevate them in all fields: in education, in science, in research, in economics and in politics in order to attain the force that Allah commands them to harness so as to punish these tyrants and cleans the land and the shrines.
The second issue is that of Iraq and its people. Here we must explain that our hatred for America and the West is not directed against the people for whom we harbour no enmity or hostility but against the governments who have given themselves a licence to intervene in our affairs to the extent of invading us militarily under false pretexts in contravention of the Security Council resolutions and international law and against the will of the United Nations. It is as if we are in a jungle governed by gangsters who perpetrate the most brutal forms of terrorism in the name of fighting terrorism and establishing democracy. Well, is democracy built of the skulls of peoples? Is it possible for democracy to emerge in the shade of a military occupation that rules with iron and fire? Did what happened in Abu Ghraib prison, in Falujah and the various Iraqi cities and against the Ulama (Islamic scholars) relate in anyway to humanity let alone to democracy? Do the loss of security, the blood falls and the pieces of flesh relate in anyway to human rights? Can the intervention to impose a constitution that tears the country apart, incite jingoism and instil hostility among the children of the same nation be in anyway related to democracy?
Once we’ve taken all of this into consideration we can understand why the United States of America and its allies insist on avoiding the pronouncement of an international legal definition of terrorism and on refusing to recognize that national resistance against occupation is a legitimate act. Despite the fact that international law recognizes such resistance to be legitimate, the United States and its allies insist on labelling it as terrorism. Let us assume that a certain country occupies on of the states of the United States, will it resist in order to end the occupation? Or will it welcome it because it considers resistance an act of terrorism?
The U.S. hostile policy toward the Arab states and the overt bias in favour of the Zionist state has been further confirmed by the U.S. threats to and sanctions against Syria under a variety of pretexts. ……….
What is truly strange is that after all of this they ask "why do they hate us?" And they claim that they wish to bring us reform and democracy.
In my speech last Ramadan I called on lawyers and human rights organizations, locally, regionally and internationally, to list the losses in lives and properties incurred because of the U.S., Western and Zionist crimes against our people and nations and to lodge lawsuits before international courts considering that these crimes are war crimes whose perpetrators should be prosecuted. I am still calling for the same measure so that the wronged people can have retribution against those who wronged them and so that victims, whether individuals or states, can be compensated for the loss and destruction suffered by them.
The circumstances we are passing through oblige us to search for the means of empowerment foremost of which is unity. It is in view of this that we call, in all sincerity and humility, on those who are in authority in our country to respond to the calls for reform that spring from hearts that are sincere to this nation, to submit to the will of the people and to give priority to the public interest over their private interests so as for us to avoid an internal explosion or, God forbid, pressure or aggression from outside, so as to relieve the suppressed congestion and heal the pain of the frustrated souls and tense hearts and so as for concord, peace, love and loyalty to prevail in the lands. "And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves." "And say: "Work (righteousness): soon will Allah observe your work, and His Messenger, and the Believers."
May Allah guide us and grant us victory against our own souls and desires, may He unite our ranks in order to win with His support …..
Peace be upon you and Mercy and Blessings from Allah