Why Has MB’s Party Program Been Delayed?
Why Has MB’s Party Program Been Delayed?
Tuesday, August 14,2007 17:44
By Mohamed Bahaa
Six months ago, Mohamed Mahdi Akef, Muslim Brotherhood (MB) chairman, declared that MB plans to establish a political party, saying they will make public the program of this party to know views towards society’s critical issues which raised sharp and fierce attacks against the group since it was established in 1928 .
However, the MB hasn’t finished preparing its program yet. Many predictions about the program have been published by the media, and all of them have been dismissed by the MB, saying they are merely older drafts, while they haven’t declared the real program yet.
What raises eyebrows is that while preparing the party program is delayed, we did not find in the drafts any clear vision from the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) regarding many sensitive issues, which have become a cause of sharp disagreement between members of the MB Executive Office. This made the MB chairman retreat from reports that the party program is to be released soon, and backtrack on declarations that the program will be issued later this month or next month, like his statements on the group’s official web site. Months passed and the program hasn’t emerged!.
Rows, Disarray
The disagreement over undecided issues is still echoed in the MB Executive Bureau while, according to well-informed sources inside the MB, presenting the idea of a party came in response to continuous criticisms against the group. However, the party program hasn’t addressed such criticisms, making MB Executive Bureau member and the MB chairman to stop short of declaring the party program and banning any press statements pointing that declaring the program is soon.
On the other hand, some observers doubted the seriousness of this program, initially describing the declaration about it as a bubble which didn’t gain any consensus among members of the MB Executive Office, as preparations for declaring a political party wasn’t a part of their current priorities.
According to our well-informed sources inside the group, what delayed the party and presenting it to the parties affairs committee, was the undecided issues in the program, and the disagreement over them.
Dilemma of Copts
The most prominent points that face disagreement among the Executive Office members, is the attitude towards the Copts. The program drafts have stopped short of talking about the Copts, and whether they can assume public jobs or the Cabinet or the Ministry of Defense. Discussing this issue was generally including all non-Muslims, Copts or Jews!.
The sources say that this attitude came after objection of Sheikh Mohamed Abdullah Al Khatib, (who issued the famous fatwa of not licensing building churches in new open cities, like Al-Maadi, Heliopolis , New Cairo, and others). The MB stopped short of directly tackling these points in response to objection of Al Khatib, along with other MB Office elders like Sabri Arafa, Mohamed Hilal, and Mahdi Akef himself.
However, Dr. Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, a member of the MB Executive Office, dismissed this attitude, demanding views of MB grassroots to be surveyed towards issues of the Copts, particularly the issue towards public rule, not restricting it to views of the MB office members. He saw that this can be carried out through MB administrative offices nationwide.
It is worth mentioning that Aboul-Fotouh has his private viewpoint, that it is legal to allow Copts to assume public posts as long as they are picked through democratic elections!.
Attitudes of Dr. Mohamed Habib, the MB first deputy chairman, and Dr. Mohamed Morsi, a member of the MB office, are neutral, specially that both of them are responsible for preparing the program, through the months long sessions held in the Suez Road-based parliamentary bloc headquarters.
Rule of Women
Other critical issues include also women’s public and special rule. Gomaah Amin, the supervisor of the MB’s Sisters (Female Members) section, sees women are allowed to assume special posts, like justice, a view which is rejected by Dr. Rashad Lashin, and Lashin Abu Shanab, who see that the MB should announce the (women’s) public rule is illegal according to Sharia, and not to speak about special rule, because this will enrage MBs in Gulf countries, where the MBs see that women aren’t allowed to run for or even cast their vote in public elections.
Camp David problem
As for Dr. Mohamed Habib, the MB first deputy chairman, he focused his objection on the expected party’s obscure attitude towards some issues, the most prominent of which is the attitude towards international treaties and conventions in which Egypt is a signatory, like Camp David, and what is the party’s opinion towards them, and whether to cancel, extend or amend them.