Muslim Brotherhood Member Gives Talk at AUC

AHMED ISSAWY / STAFF PHOTOGR APHER

The Model Council of Ministers and the Student Union hosted Khairat El Shater, Deputy Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a talk show held from 1 to 3 pm in Shafik Gabr Hall on Monday May 9.

El Shater started by saying that as Egyptians, we need to rebuild Egypt, and that AUC students in particular have a bigger role because they are well educated and knowledgeable. When asked, “Who are the Muslim Brotherhood?” El Shater said they are a dream, a vision, and a project to rebuild Egypt according to the Islamic law, adding that anyone who studies political science or business knows that anything needs a base to be built upon. El Shater stated that after the English invasion of Egypt, Egypt was rebuilt according to the Islamic system.

El Shater firmly believes that the MB is not a goal, but a tool to develop Egypt. He emphasized that every person is free to choose his religion and vision of life but Muslims should follow the Islamic vision because that is the religion they freely chose to follow. El Shater pointed that some people use Islamic reference to scare others and explained that religion has different versions and the last version came upon Prophet Mohammed and as Muslim brothers they believe in all religions from God.

“I have the freedom to choose any religion but if I choose to be a Muslim I should follow its principles,” said El Shater adding, “we are demanded to make Islam guide our lives.” He insisted that politicians, and not religious figures, should build the country’s new system and in the end, the citizens are the source of the legislative authority meaning that the people have the final say in choosing their leaders and the system based on the principle of “shura.”

He clarified that the MBs’ system of ruling is based on general Islamic rules that are found in all three religions which makes it flexible for everyone. He added that Muslims and Copts lived with each other for years without any problems and MB won’t apply Islamic rules on them because they will follow their religion.

El Shater also noted that until he was 18 years old he lived in a house owned by Copts.

Problems with Copts never existed until the English invasion of Egypt and in the past forty years during Sadat and Mubarak’s regimes. He explained that for example, as newspapers mentioned the ministry of interior and its minister Habib El Adly were behind the bombing of the Alexandria church early this year. He pointed to the fact that the previous system prevented the army, the Copts, the USA, and the MB from interacting with each other and building good relations so as not to be a danger on the system.

We should know the consequences of sectarian congestions and try to prevent it and so “it’s every Copt’s and Muslim’s responsibility to cooperate and live peacefully with each other,” insisted El Shater, explaining that “not any person with beards and wearing a galabeya must be a salafist.” El Shater gave an example by recounting a story from back when he was the leader of a student protest and how he was misled by police disguised in beard and “galabeya”. In answering a question, El Shater explained that the MB agreed on the constitutional reform because they wanted to end Egypt’s economic instability adding that Egypt lost EGP 120 billion because of the revolution and is facing a political congestion and gaps in the country’s systems. He confirmed that the MB does not seek presidency. When asked about his opinion regarding a female president, El Shater replied that this is a personal choice and every person has the freedom to choose and that the majority’s decision within the constitution will rule. However, even the USA which speaks of democracy, freedom and equality has not had a female president.

Replying to a different question regarding tourism, El Shater said that tourism is an important industry and how this activity will be run also depends on the people’s choice. However, tourism is more than alcohol and gambling. El Shater stated that the MB’s activities are funded by its members and confirmed that if a MB member decides to join their political party “Justice and Freedom” then they must leave their membership in the MB group.