Is the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) contained? And would that be good enough? Dr. Christopher Bolan of the U.S. Army War College seems to think so. He argued as much recently here at War on the Rocks. While Bolan’s line of reasoning is appealing to many Americans who are tired of costly foreign entanglements, both parts of his argument fall apart when subjected to scrutiny.
Gomaa Amin and the Future of the Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood spent 84 years toiling in Egypt’s opposition before winning power in June 2012 only to lose it 369 days later. It has been all downhill for the group since then. In the 14 months since the military responded to huge protests by toppling Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president, the group has faced an unrelenting crackdown that has practically decimated it as a political force in Egypt.
The Working Group on Egypt sent President Obama a letter on September 24th, roundly criticizing him for meeting with Egyptian President, El-Sissi, on the sides of UNGA. While Coptic Solidarity shares concerns regarding limitations on NGOs, free-speech, and religious minorities, the overall hypocrisy of the letter was astounding.
The houses of worship law awaits to be passed in the (yet to be elected) Egyptian parliament, but the problem lies in whether the government can enforce it amid the apprehensions of radical Salafists.
The unified houses of worship law, which regulates the construction of mosques and churches in Egypt, is still waiting for the parliament’s approval.
The Egyptian Cabinet has refused a request made by NGO Nazra for Feminist Studies to allow women to join The Supreme Committee for Legislative Reform, drawing criticism from many of the country’s women’s rights groups.
By Salah Laban
“Nobody denies that the Salafi current has the greatest share in initiating the revolution, as it exposed to the people the loyalty of the Arab regimes to the West, their squandering of the resources of the Umma [Islamic Nation], and their failing to preserve its holy sites." This is what a leader of the Jihadi-Salafi current, Muhammad Mustafa, also known as "Abu Shadi", said, stressing that the Salafis never stayed away from politics, but rather applied it in accordance to their understanding of Sharia, and that they also played the role of "enlightening before revolutionizing," recognizing that popular revolts are the greatest means for change. Abu Shadi also confirms that he was one of Tahrir Square’s preachers during the revolution, and that Jihadi Salafism is present in Egypt, and in large numbers, in the millions, according to him.
In Abu Shadi's view, the street [i.e., the average Muslim Egyptian] is in complete agreement with Salafism, and the attack on the Salafis comes from the "enemies of Islam," or, in his opinion, "the forces of infidels and crusaders.” Moreover, he confirms, with confidence, that the Egyptian Islamic movements have the "mechanism to deal with the infidels".. Abu Shadi sees that it was only fear, and perhaps error [of judgment], which led some Salafi preachers to call against going out [to protest] against Mubarak. He pointed out that Mubarak fought Islamists, and harmed Islam, because he helped the crusaders occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, adding that "there is no obedience to whoever does not govern according to Sharia." For him, the conditions to be a ruler of a Muslim state are to be Muslim, masculine, and possess [religious] knowledge—even to the degree of being an exegete.
He called upon the Islamic movements to carefully distinguish between believers and infidels. The leading Salafi explains: "We do not transgress against the Nassara [or “Nazarenes,” the Quranic appellation for Christians], but they must either pay jizya [tribute, and assume inferior status], convert to Islam, or war. He adds: [Samuel] Huntington said the truth even though he was a liar, for the coming struggle is the clash of civilizations, and Islam will be victorious and rule the world with an "Islamic caliphate"... Abu Shady belittles the symbols of secularism in the "lands of Muslims," describing them as few [in number], and points out that there is confusion among the people regarding "the fact that they are infidels.” He threatened that a statement will be shortly published by the Salafis, revealing the truth about them [the secularists], which "will make the masses beat them with shoes, for we must fight them because they are in the trench of infidelity,” according to the Salafi leader.
Al-Qaeda has a sacred status to Abu Shadi, as its members are "the companions after the [Prophet's] Companions” [i.e., the most faithful of Muslims] adding that it gave the Umma an unprecedented boost, by leading it towards a legitimate goal. He said that the masses rose against the Arab rulers thanks to al-Qaeda and what it presented by way of statements and facts, in sound and image. In a tone full of aspirational gladness, he stressed that the idea of jihad is still alive in Egypt, and that "the struggle will continue until the Umma stands up to the two camps, namely, [for] faith and [against] infidelity."
The leading Salafi then goes back in memory to a dark corner, when he published an article entitled "A Vision for Change" in an Islamic blog, which caused his arrest on charges of incitement to revolt against the regime. He says “In prison, electricity was used all over my body.”
For him, Sufi and Shiite thoughts are quite similar, and are both the main reason for the occupation of the lands of Islam. "Sufism is a malignant disease, a dagger in the body of the Umma; we must get rid of it in order for the Umma to recover—and a strong wind will come to wipe out the enemies of Allah."
Translated by CS from :
Coptic Solidarity 2014 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28, 2014.