Muslim Brotherhood flexes muscles

A senior figure in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood organisation has argued against non-Muslims holding leadership positions in Egypt, including the presidency.

by
    Mohamed Habib is Brotherhood's second in command

    Mohamed Habib, the first deputy of the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide, said that "if we are to apply the Islamic rule which says that non-Muslims have no guardianship over Muslims, then a Christian may not be president".

    Habib was talking to reporters at the group's headquarters in Manial al-Roda on Monday.

    In a speech outlining the banned but tolerated group's preliminary agenda for the next parliament, Habib said that the rule is the "only exception" regarding restrictions for non-Muslims.

    Otherwise, they share the same "rights and duties of Muslims".

    Disputed

    But according to Tarek El-Bishri, a respected Islamist intellectual and former judge, the Brotherhood's interpretation of non-Muslim guardianship is meaningless in the modern age.

    Constitutions and laws - rather than one individual as was the case in medieval times - govern guardianship today "and thus it doesn't matter if the president is Muslim or Christian", el-Bishri told Aljazeera.net

    The Muslim Brotherhood is 
    Egypt's largest opposition group

    The Coptic Christian community comprises approximately 10% of Egypt's population of 72 million.

    The Brotherhood's gains in the ongoing three-stage parliamentary elections - 76 seats - have alarmed Coptic and secular groups in Egypt despite repeated attempts by the group's leaders to allay their fears.

    Habib's latest statements are expected to trigger another wave of criticism against the group which aims at creating an Islamic state.

    The Brotherhood announced that it will be pressing for political reforms such as lifting the emergency law, demanding general freedoms and the freedom to form political parties.

    Agenda

    The group will also call for the amendment of articles 76 and 77 of the constitution, relating to the president's election and limiting the presidential term.

    Last May, article 76 of the constitution was amended to allow for multi-candidate presidential elections in response to an initiative by Hosni Mubarak, the president, in February.

    The new law, critics say, was tailor made to serve the ruling National Democratic Party and Mubarak.

    Habib said: "We want every Egyptian to have the right to run for president and not just a candidate from the NDP."

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR



    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.