In Exclusive Interview With Al-Jazeera, Al-Shater: Egyptians Will Defend Their Revolution If SCAF Doesn't Handover Power
|Monday, October 24,2011 08:44|
Khairat Al-Shater, deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) hoped the West and the United States would change their policy towards the Egyptian people and to respect their will for democratic change, instead of the support they gave to the oppressive authoritarian regime in the past years.
In an interview on Al Jazeera satellite channel's programme "Bela Hodoud" (Without Borders), Wednesday evening, he said: "If anyone tries to restore the authoritarian regime, steal the revolution or deprive people of their right to a decent life and an economic process that would rise with both the country and the people, the Egyptian people will not be silenced".
He added: "We do not speak the language of threats; and appreciate the military announcing the handover of power. If they do, we and the whole nation thank them; and if they do not, the people will defend their rights".
With reference to the possibility of people resorting to popular revolution again, Al-Shater asserted: "The people will carry the revolution back to the street again and again, if the need arises".
With regard to the relationship between the Brotherhood and the international community, Al-Shater said: "About two hundred delegations visited us, at least, from embassies, governments, political parties, research centres and journalists, from many countries. They came to learn more about the Muslim Brotherhood and their influence in the Egyptian political arena".
Al-Shater divided Western delegations into groups. Of these, he mentioned that the economic and political groups want to learn about the Brotherhood’s economic vision and the extent of their influence on the investment climate.
Al-Shater stressed that the Muslim Brotherhood has a comprehensive integrated economic vision for the development and advancement of Egypt. It has blue-prints for projects in the fields of agriculture, industry and health, prepared by Brotherhood parliamentarians for Assembly sessions of the past years.
He added that the Muslim Brotherhood is working on the development of their concepts, plans and portfolios with the help of MB and non-MB experts and specialists, to provide a highly developed and detailed vision to build modern Egypt, which does not need the Muslim Brotherhood alone, to resolve all Egypt's current crises. He said that such diverse contribution is especially important in the face of Egypt’s many challenges that cannot be overcome by the government, the army, the Brotherhood, the Copts or Muslims alone.
Al-Shater stressed that an effective solution is only possible in an alliance and coordination with everyone to safeguard the integrity of the homeland and rejuvenate the country, after the removal of Hosni Mubarak.
With respect to Western political delegations that visited the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice party, Al-Shater pointed out that those focused on the stance of the Brotherhood concerning the U.S, the West, international treaties and conventions, women, democracy and the Copts.
He pointed out that all of these visiting delegations had many questions through which they wanted to get to know the Brotherhood through direct dialogue, and correct the negative image of the MB as painted by Mubarak, his regime and associates and other parties with thoughts, views and ideologies incompatible with those of the MB’s, in order to vilify the MB and set it up as the bogeyman to scare people of Islam both inside Egypt and abroad.
Al-Shater denied completely that the MB has any strategy to take Egypt into a system based on coercion, extremism and violation of women's rights.
Al-Shater said: "We want to develop and rejuvenate Egypt, like any successful modern country today. We’ve looked at the experience of Japan, Malaysia and Turkey, Brazil and South Korea , and considered the new systems created by those countries, which achieved a real economic boom within the last ten years while maintaining the unique cultures of their peoples. He said that Japan in particular is more understanding of the unique Egyptian culture and the extent of its influence in the rejuvenation process.
He added: "No-one should imagine that we are going to force anyone to do anything-there is no compulsion of any kind! We believe in persuasion and human interpretations based on Shura (Islamic consultation). Ultimately, the decision is the people’s".
He continued: "Of course, the concept of the religious state, in the Western Christian sense, is neither acceptable nor compatible with our ideas. We cannot impose on anyone anything they resent. If God Himself did not impose a faith on anyone, how can we do that?"
In response to a question regarding meetings between the West and the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Shater said: "I noticed that the West had a mental image quite different from what they saw in direct contact with us. But they need to know us better. We know that the long anti-MB propaganda campaign, in which the former regime used us to scare everyone, means we have to persuade others to listen to us and give us the opportunity to help them acquaint themselves with the Muslim Brotherhood in a direct way".
In reply to a question about statements and reports attacking Copts, Al-Shater said: "Official MB statements and speeches of official spokespersons are what matters. Moreover, some MB members may not be able to accurately express MB ideas and values, as a result of inhibition and isolation by the former regime and the lack of communication channels between MB masses during the Mubarak era and earlier. Now, after the revolution, communication is improving and there are efforts endeavouring to explain MB vision and objectives, clearly and accurately".
With regard to the United States' call for dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Shater said that the U.S. Secretary of State indicated that they are not against meeting the Muslim Broherhood “In fact, there have been numerous limited meetings between the two sides, at the level of political groups. Both the MB and the FJP announced those meetings as and when they took place,” he added.
Al-Shater addressed the United States and the West, saying: "We want to talk and cooperate with everyone, and discuss issues of mutual interest that could achieve the greatest results for the people. We are not at war with them. However, we wish to focus on state-building in our country".
Al-Shater also said: "Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, Russia and China have already started dialogue, to get acquainted with the Muslim Brotherhood; but have not yet reached to the phase of cooperation and partnership. We want mutual peer-to-peer dialogue. And we will always look out for the interest of Egypt".
He commented: "The MB seeks to open channels of communication with those countries to benefit from their expertise. We are not locked on ourselves at all".
Al-Shater concluded by stating that there is some communication between certain Arab embassies and the MB and the FJP, seeking to know their visions and views. He also stressed that the Brotherhood is endeavouring to build bridges of trust with everyone, and its hand is open to them.