Friday, December 21, 2012

Their Goal Is Power

Mohamed Shaheen is a secular-minded Muslim who was elected to the People’s Assembly of Egypt in the 2011-2012 election. He is opposed to President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, and believes the Ikhwan is well on the way to establishing a Salafist dictatorship in Egypt.

Last month Alain Wagner of the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA) interviewed Mohamed Shaheen in France. Jean Maher acted as an interpreter, translating from Arabic to French during the interview. The French text was later translated by Bear, and Vlad Tepes has now subtitled it in English:

As Vlad Tepes reported earlier, the day after this interview was filmed, Mohamed Shaheen was beaten up and sent to the hospital by President Mohamed Morsi’s thugs.

Interview transcript:

00:06 Hi, can you introduce yourself and talk to us about your party?
00:14 I thank you for this interview.
00:17 My name is Mohamed Shaheen. I participated in the January revolution.
00:23 I participated in the legislative elections.
00:30 And I participated in the construction of two Egyptian parties, the party of the free Egyptians
00:36 and the second party, the party I am currently founding, is called, the party of the life of Egyptians
00:45 I am part of the liberal current in Egypt that is considered the opposite of the habitual Islamist current.
00:55 What we want to do in Egypt, is respond to demands expressed by free Muslims.
01:04 Liberty, dignity, resistance against corruption, democracy.
01:11 All these demands come from the revolution,
01:14 and the construction of a secular state that is based on this type of ideology.
01:21 we have a great challenge in Egypt after this revolution.
01:25 The political Islamist current has risen,
01:31 Which is represented by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists.
01:35 What is the greatest difficulty for the democratic parties defenders of democracy in Egypt today?
01:42 When it started, this revolution was mounted by youths who did not represent organized political parties.
01:54 Once it was seen that this revolution was going to be victorious, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists started participating,
02:08 because these groups are well-organized.
02:12 As soon as the old regime no longer existed, they took advantage with their organization,
02:20 and took power through the elections.
02:24 And so the menace and challenge that this ideology in which they believe,
02:31 It is the opposite of all demands of democracy and liberty that were called for during the revolution.
02:43 And with that, the dream of that future state of democracy never came true.
02:53 According to him, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, are they religious organisations or political ones?
02:59 They are political organizations of the first degree that utilize religion in order to reach political goals.
03:11 And this happens quite easily in Egypt, because the Egyptian population has been religious for a long time.
03:19 They tell people: ‘Vote for us because if you do so, it will be as if you were voting for god...’
03:26 ‘and if you do not support us, the camp of Allah, this signifies that you are making a second-rate choice of electing kuffar.’
03:34 Kuffar means impure, infidels, against Allah.
03:39 The methods that they have used have hurt religion a great deal, hurt Islam.
03:44 and they have harmed society enormously.
03:47 Independent of my political activism, I know religion well, and know they do not understand religion well.
04:00 When there are people that attempt to explain that they are in the wrong, they react in a very violent way.
04:10 In Europe, It has been explained to us that the ‘Arab springs’ are the emergence of a democratic phenomenon. Is the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood compatible with democracy?
04:24 Independent of the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood have received the power via a method that we call democratic,
04:33 because people have put ballets in a basket,
04:37 in fact there has been much cheating.
04:41 The first thing was a trickery of intellectual comprehension,
04:47 because they made people understand that when you do this, you are in fact voting for Allah,
04:55 and not just for men.
04:59 At the same time, all that financial assistance was arriving from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
05:04 And the distribution of food-related products to people before the elections, such as oil and sugar, in order to get their votes.
05:11 There was purchasing of votes in the end?
05:17 So it is a rerouting of the democratic process to ends that push us further from democracy?
05:23 Of course, since they have cheated on the level of intellectual comprehension of people and have purchased votes.
05:34 And, once in power, they started taking actions that were ‘a bit strong’
05:38 against opponents with different ideas (different political movements, ideology).
05:42 As an example, they started to arrest journalists, close a few TV stations and papers.
05:53 You also have organizations of people that attack people during demonstrations.
06:01 The militia?
06:03 The militia. Organizations and manifestations that were authorized, they go and attack them.
06:09 And they have put in agents from their organizations, who are present when we talk about the Islamic religion,
06:18 then they present us as kuffar, anti-Islam.
06:25 And so there are enormous numbers of agents who demonise people like us.
06:32 According to his opinion, the situation is currently evolving towards more democracy or less democracy since Mohamed Morsi was elected?
06:42 We are currently moving towards a regime of dictatorship that is even worse and more dangerous than the Mubarak regime.
06:54 He will use the same repressive methods that were used by the old regime,
07:00 and add this supplementary element, that is religious repression.
07:05 So the situation is currently degrading in Egypt from what I understand. How does he see the way the democrats (liberals) work
07:11 in a regime in the course of becoming a politico-religious dictatorship?
07:15 and on top of it, are he or his collaborators being physically threatened?
07:20 In any case, today any opposition, any person that oppose is threatened.
07:28 Physically?
07:29 Physically, especially people that stage demonstrations; they are physically attacked.
07:33 I, personally, with others who are well known have received direct threats upon our lives. Death threats.
07:43 Everyone knows that being part of a different groups, they have a bloody history.
07:51 And their methods of action are well-known.
07:55 As a secular civil force, what means could we use to affect a change?
08:02 Firstly, we are building secular organizations, and secondly we are demonstrating against violations of rights,
08:16 the violations against democracy and all that they are doing to the population.
08:20 And at the same time, we create religious circles that truly know a religion that has another image,
08:30 to be able to remove people that are under their influence (that of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists).
08:37 And of course the preparation for the next elections.
08:40 And also to show Europe, to show the countries of the Gulf,
08:46 the methods used by those that we call at home the political religious.
08:52 How, according to him, can Europe or European countries help the cause of democracy
08:57 and the secular organizations that he represents in Egypt in a concrete manner?
09:03 Since today the European countries work more and more in cooperation with the OIC, whose members are objectively the enemies of democracy.
09:13 How can we help?
09:17 The first thing is the know the truth about what is happening at home, to our population.
09:24 Because during this visit here I have discovered that you are unaware of what is truly happening.
09:30 Civil society would have to be able to show politicians from your home the truth.
09:38 And that must be public condemnation of these violations, of what is happening at home.
09:42 I am very astounded that in France that is the country of the constitution and of the law.
09:49 that there had been not a single declaration from its president nor its government
09:55 that criticizes the constitutional violations that the Muslim Brotherhood is currently carrying out,
10:00 because they are in control today and they have a grip on the formation of the future Egyptian constitution.
10:09 Just since yesterday, the three Egyptian churches have declared their withdrawal from the constitutional commission.
10:17 Civil society here must tell the truth to politicians.
10:26 The second thing: Europe offers aid to countries (Egypt). This aid must be rendered under conditions,
10:33 linked to real progress of liberty and democracy in our countries.
10:39 We would need political delegations that come to visit in our countries to be attentive,
10:46 and also come to listen to the opposition forces,
10:53 like they do with the government.
11:07 we would need for Egyptian civil society to engage in communication
11:12 that reveals effectively the truth of what is happening out there.
11:17 Correct, concerning this communication, of this truth of what is happening in the field and the reality of the opposition forces in the actual regime,
11:26 did our guest manage to have contacts with the French press or with political parties?
11:33 I went and visited the senate and paid two visits to services linked to the European union
11:44 and I have requested more contacts and also communications.
11:49 I think we need a true cooperation between people preoccupied with democracy at home and people of the civil society in your home.
12:01 And I will restart my attempt to make contacts in many European countries, and equally in the United States.
12:08 In any case I can assure him that the International Civil Liberties Alliance commits itself to make contact with him
12:15 and to facilitate as much as possible the communication between Egypt and the West.
12:20 I am very happy for this position.
12:25 Last question, as I know you are very much in a hurry:
12:30 If you had something to say to Europe, to France, on the actual situation?
12:38 Since we in Europe we have also organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, what would you say to society?
12:44 I would first of all like to address the Muslims that are within the French population.
12:51 There is a difference between Islam and Islamic religious groups.
12:57 Groups that are religiously Islamic do not have the real knowledge of the religion of Islam.
13:05 They can show themselves as very religious Muslims without being of the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafists.
13:15 And towards the French government, I would like to say that religious groups of Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood,
13:25 they use lies and ruses when they have discussion with political men until they arrive at their, goal which is power.
13:37 And then they will announce their true ideology. This is what they practiced in Egypt at the beginning of the revolution.
13:46 They have spoken much of democracy and of sharing, and once they took power
13:54 all they had announced, they did the reverse.
13:58 And so me, I am warning you of the ruse used by the Muslim Brotherhood.
14:06 Thank you very much.