Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri talks about where Egypt is heading

“The first question: If we took Egypt as a model of the Arab and Islamic countries, is there any hope of peaceful change in Egypt? Is there any hope of at least peaceful demonstrations in Egypt when the government is working on a law that it will push through the People’s Assembly to ban demonstrations at houses of worship? By this it means no demonstrations at Al-Azhar, the very place where Egyptians have protest against injustice for hundreds of years?

Let me ask the question with more frankness: Is the situation in Egypt improving or getting worse? Let us examine its foreign policy, the corruption in the country, its economy, and agriculture. Let us explore not Shari’ah and religion but normally recognized morals in the media and in public life, human rights, poverty, sickness, and education. Where is Egypt heading? Is it heading towards the leadership of the Arab and Islamic world or is it heading towards being a client and subservient? Do its ruler defend its rights or are his best efforts devoted to acting as America’s broker or informant who submits to it reports on his colleagues, the other Arab rulers?

The second question: Keeping in mind the reality to which I referred in the first question, does this document offer a plan for change in our Arab and Islamic countries or do its six options- a) emigration, b) self-isolation, c) amnesty, d) withdrawal from action, e) patience, and f) concealment of faith- supply the recipe from escaping from reality?

Escaping from reality might be a Shari’ah sanctioned solution vis-a-vis the corrupt conditions that cannot be changed. Imam Al-Bukhari, may he rest in peace, cited Abu-Sa’id al-Khidri, may his soul find favor with God, that the prophet, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, said, ‘It might be best for a Muslim to herd his sheep through the narrow mountain passes and follow the pasture in order to keep his religious faith safe from conflict and sedition.’

Do those who welcome the document see the situation like this? Escape from reality might be a solution that is against Shari’ah to which a person might be pushed by different motives. It remains a solution for one person or a group of persons but it cannot be a solution for a society, a population, or a nation. If it cannot be a solution for a society, a population, or a nation, then more logically it cannot be a solution to a nation that is the victim of aggression, whose land is occupied, whose territories are stolen, and whose sanctities, creed, and values are under attack.

Furthermore the document’s author does not offer this merely as a solution for himself or even for those who signed alongside him at the official government departments or the other detainees or even the other Islamic movements. He offers this as a solution to the whole nation!

It is astonishing that when he was proposing his solution to the whole nation or even to the Islamic movements or the detainees, he offered emigration as a solution. This drove me to ask: emigration to where? The best place where a Muslim can live in dignity today is among the mujahidin, whom the author said were living in caves under the protection of tribesmen and intelligence services. Those who welcomed his document said that it was at least a step on the road. But I ask: What road? Where does it lead?

This makes me caution the document’s author and all those who signed it alongside him to look and explore in which direction they are pushing them? To what destination are they taking them? To proclaim their repentance, consider Al-Sadat a martyr, and recognize Husni Mubarak and his children and grandchildren as an Egyptian ruling dynasty? This makes me ask the same question of those who welcomed the document: To where? It is a simple question but is very embarrassing.

A section of those who welcomed the document do not believe in Islam and do not want it. Another group claims that it wants Islam on condition that it should not negatively affect its official and informal relations with power centers and official and non-official media. Others want Islam without it posing a threat to their positions, salaries, and other privileges. Another group is prepared to pay a small price for its Islamic belief but some of its leaders do not object to the establishment of a bi-national secular state in Palestine on the way to finally achieving two states in the land of Palestine. So, to where are they going? Does the nation not have the right to ask? Are they not obligated to answer? Finally are those not worthy of being asked?

They claim that they welcome the document because it calls for halting internal conflict. I ask them: When did the internal conflict ever stop? The government conducts internal conflict against its people on a daily basis, in every sphere.

Furthermore the document does not call for a halt of internal conflict. It goes far beyond this. It calls for no objection to injustice and refusal to be preoccupied with public affairs or the Muslim people’s affairs. The document solves the problem of a captive who feels he has made enough sacrificies or regrets that he has made them and who wants to devote his attention to his own affairs. This, by the way, has been its author’s problem for the past 14 years. It does not, however, solve the problem of a society, population, or nation.

I might understand that a captive might make such a declaration in his circumstances of detention. I was twice a captive, may God be praised for everything, and I know what it is like to be in capitvity. However, the Muslim nation in Egypt and elsewhere can do without this decision completely in these tempestuous circumstances in its history.

Let us assume that the internal conflict stopped and no one disturbed public order any more. Would those who welcomed the document have then arrived at the goal they wanted? Would conditions be better or would they deteriorate? Moreover, why are you urging the oppressed detainees inside the Egyptian jails and members of Al-Qa’ida of Jihad to sign the document so that the internal conflict might stop but you do not ask HAMAS to do the same? Has not HAMAS carried out and does it not continue to carry out internal conflict? Is this not a clear contradiction?

Would it be logical for a person who sees eye to eye with the document’s author to draw up a document for the Palestinians urging them to abandon jihad because it caused the shedding of Muslim blood and tell them that they have to make a choice among the six options offered by the document?

If it is claimed that there is a big difference between Egypt and Palestine because Palestine is under Jewish occupation, the answer is that Jewish occupation does not justify the shedding of Muslim blood. There is a US occupation in Egypt and the number of Muslim dead who were killed by US planes that took off from Egypt and from the US warships that passed through the Suez Canal were supplied at Egyptian ports and were loaded from the US military stores in Egypt was greater than the number of Palestinians whom the Jews are killing in Gaza; 1 million Iraqi children were killed by the embargo, not the war. ”

(Source: https://fas.org/irp/dni/osc/exoneration.pdf )



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