14
December , 2018
Friday

People Aur Politics

A liberation zone for democratic rights, multiculturalism, international brotherhood and peace.

Still focussed on identity?-Galal Nassar

Posted by admin On March - 1 - 2013

2013-634975756273677588-367_resized
The Egyptian national scene is more perplexing, intriguing and depressing than ever. Any opportunity to exit the dark tunnel of the current crisis is wasted due to the recalcitrance of those in power and the lack of creative solutions by the opposition. The game one sees now is not entirely political. Questions of identity have been raised; aspects of theology fought over, and people have been defamed and denounced as heathen just because they dared to challenge the views of the ruling Islamist current. The bickering, incessant as it is, has dragged the country into an infernal abyss of social and economic problems.

The Muslim Brotherhood, once in power, has shown more interest in the identity of the nation, not its politics. The Brotherhood has wasted one opportunity after another to build a modern civil state and has failed to address the country’s economic problems. Even in matters of religion, its ideas seem to be shifting away from what one had assumed was its original doctrine.

In politics, from the Islamist point of view, the ruler should engage in dialogue with others in order to reach a consensus that allows everyone to live together in peace. So much is stated by Imam Al-Mawardi in his famous Al-Ahkam Al-Sultania (The Rules of Government for Sultans). Politics doesn’t need to be placed in the service of religion, for religion is complete as it is, and as the Prophet Mohamed said in his Khotbat Al-Wadaa (or farewell sermon): “Today, I have completed, for you, your faith.”

The point that politics is the art of dealing with others seems to escape the Muslim Brotherhood’s notice. The need to acknowledge others and take their views into account doesn’t seem to register with the Brotherhood leaders. This is why the country’s process of consensus building has stalled.

The Muslim Brotherhood has made not consensus but identity its main point of focus. It has made the distinction between what is halal, or religiously permissible, and what is haram, or religiously impermissible, its benchmark for policy. And its obsession with haram and halal has thrown the whole political process off kilter.

The advocates of political Islam, and their rightwing allies among the Salafis, believe their primary task is to spread the word of Islam. This is the task they deem to be most urgent in the country, a country that has been dominantly Muslim and dominantly Sunni for centuries.

Having subscribed to the hardline ideas of Sayed Qutb, the current Muslim Brotherhood leaders regard a majority of their Muslim contemporaries as heathen, and are therefore eager to bring them back to the true faith.

So, for the Brotherhood, the primary task is to change the ideas of society, not to bring about development. The group’s main desire is to take full control of the country, in the economic, social and military sense. This is why they fought such ferocious battles over the judiciary and the constitution. They are unwilling to lead unless the country is in their iron grip, or “Ikhwanised” (from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Arabic name: Ikhwan).

The Muslim Brotherhood’s tactics, as we all know, have ripped the country apart. The Brotherhood sees itself as the only Muslim group with a true understanding of the faith. All others have to obey them, or else. The fact that Muslim history is based on the plurality of legal doctrines, or fiqh, doesn’t seem to register with them. The only fiqh that matters is theirs, and the only opinion worthy of following is theirs. Their conduct is diametrically opposed to the faith handed down by the Prophet Mohamed, who used to say that, “differences among my people are [a source of] mercy.”

The Muslim Brotherhood is using the Interior Ministry to repress us, the Justice Ministry to order us around, the mufti’s office to control us, and it is trying to add Al-Azhar to its arsenal, so it can do what it pleases.

The immense legacy of Sunni thinking has been reduced to halal and haram. The entire community of the faithful has been reduced into the Muslim Brotherhood and its followers. The state’s apparatus is being used for its purposes, and whenever necessary it is supplemented by secret outfits.

Once the Brotherhood had acceded to power, it started acting as an extremist faction of the takfiri brand, the brand that believes that unless you are a member or supporter of the group, you’re going straight to hell. This conduct is breaking the country up, for what choice do those who are treated as heathens have but to defend themselves?

The Muslim Brotherhood is acting as if power is an end in itself and government is but a tool for coercion. The idea of the state as a melting pot is out of the question; so is the idea that democracy is a consensual form of government.

For the Muslim Brotherhood, once you win the vote, you have no further use for the opposition. And when the opposition take to the streets, when young men and women continue to demonstrate, you can just send your gangs to beat them up.

The Muslim Brotherhood came to power without a social and economic programme. It has won elections in a country in which more than one third of the Egyptian population live in informal areas and below the poverty line. And it has failed to come up with any ideas to help the people. It pays lip service to investment and tourism, but its infatuation with neoliberalism is the only sign of policy it has exhibited so far. One wonders sometimes, does the Muslim Brotherhood wish us to forget about earthly miseries and focus instead on the rewards of the afterlife?

The Brotherhood’s primary obsession is not policy, but identity. It may seem an unusual obsession, but it comes naturally to a group that originally emerged to fight what it then considered to be ungodly communism. Some Muslim Brotherhood members consider any intervention by the state in the economy as a form of communism. Stimulating production, building factories, and boosting agriculture is not their top priority. Instead, they are willing to address wheat shortages by imposing a quota of three loaves per person per day. And their solution to the public debt problem is to raise taxes and prices.

Neoliberals to the hilt, they are not interested in managing the economy, but in copying ready-made formulas. Figuring out the best policy doesn’t seem to be a part of their modus operandi. Why come up with solutions if you can get your answers in recipes?

Everything that really matters is being ignored while identity becomes the main focus for our energies. The Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t talk to anyone, doesn’t like to listen, and is not interested in compromises.

It is hard to seek compromises unless you are willing to admit that you don’t have a monopoly on the truth, or that the truth is not a divine thing, which is not the viewpoint embraced by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies. The country is being torn apart, but that doesn’t seem to worry the Brotherhood much.

When the Muslim Brotherhood ditches politics in favour of identity, when it sacrifices policymaking in favour of ready-made recipes, it puts not only its political future but also that of the country at risk.

The Egyptian national scene is more perplexing, intriguing and depressing than ever. Any opportunity to exit the dark tunnel of the current crisis is wasted due to the recalcitrance of those in power and the lack of creative solutions by the opposition. The game one sees now is not entirely political. Questions of identity have been raised; aspects of theology fought over, and people have been defamed and denounced as heathen just because they dared to challenge the views of the ruling Islamist current. The bickering, incessant as it is, has dragged the country into an infernal abyss of social and economic problems.

The Muslim Brotherhood, once in power, has shown more interest in the identity of the nation, not its politics. The Brotherhood has wasted one opportunity after another to build a modern civil state and has failed to address the country’s economic problems. Even in matters of religion, its ideas seem to be shifting away from what one had assumed was its original doctrine.

In politics, from the Islamist point of view, the ruler should engage in dialogue with others in order to reach a consensus that allows everyone to live together in peace. So much is stated by Imam Al-Mawardi in his famous Al-Ahkam Al-Sultania (The Rules of Government for Sultans). Politics doesn’t need to be placed in the service of religion, for religion is complete as it is, and as the Prophet Mohamed said in his Khotbat Al-Wadaa (or farewell sermon): “Today, I have completed, for you, your faith.”

The point that politics is the art of dealing with others seems to escape the Muslim Brotherhood’s notice. The need to acknowledge others and take their views into account doesn’t seem to register with the Brotherhood leaders. This is why the country’s process of consensus building has stalled.

The Muslim Brotherhood has made not consensus but identity its main point of focus. It has made the distinction between what is halal, or religiously permissible, and what is haram, or religiously impermissible, its benchmark for policy. And its obsession with haram and halal has thrown the whole political process off kilter.

The advocates of political Islam, and their rightwing allies among the Salafis, believe their primary task is to spread the word of Islam. This is the task they deem to be most urgent in the country, a country that has been dominantly Muslim and dominantly Sunni for centuries.

Having subscribed to the hardline ideas of Sayed Qutb, the current Muslim Brotherhood leaders regard a majority of their Muslim contemporaries as heathen, and are therefore eager to bring them back to the true faith.

So, for the Brotherhood, the primary task is to change the ideas of society, not to bring about development. The group’s main desire is to take full control of the country, in the economic, social and military sense. This is why they fought such ferocious battles over the judiciary and the constitution. They are unwilling to lead unless the country is in their iron grip, or “Ikhwanised” (from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Arabic name: Ikhwan).

The Muslim Brotherhood’s tactics, as we all know, have ripped the country apart. The Brotherhood sees itself as the only Muslim group with a true understanding of the faith. All others have to obey them, or else. The fact that Muslim history is based on the plurality of legal doctrines, or fiqh, doesn’t seem to register with them. The only fiqh that matters is theirs, and the only opinion worthy of following is theirs. Their conduct is diametrically opposed to the faith handed down by the Prophet Mohamed, who used to say that, “differences among my people are [a source of] mercy.”

The Muslim Brotherhood is using the Interior Ministry to repress us, the Justice Ministry to order us around, the mufti’s office to control us, and it is trying to add Al-Azhar to its arsenal, so it can do what it pleases.

The immense legacy of Sunni thinking has been reduced to halal and haram. The entire community of the faithful has been reduced into the Muslim Brotherhood and its followers. The state’s apparatus is being used for its purposes, and whenever necessary it is supplemented by secret outfits.

Once the Brotherhood had acceded to power, it started acting as an extremist faction of the takfiri brand, the brand that believes that unless you are a member or supporter of the group, you’re going straight to hell. This conduct is breaking the country up, for what choice do those who are treated as heathens have but to defend themselves?

The Muslim Brotherhood is acting as if power is an end in itself and government is but a tool for coercion. The idea of the state as a melting pot is out of the question; so is the idea that democracy is a consensual form of government.

For the Muslim Brotherhood, once you win the vote, you have no further use for the opposition. And when the opposition take to the streets, when young men and women continue to demonstrate, you can just send your gangs to beat them up.

The Muslim Brotherhood came to power without a social and economic programme. It has won elections in a country in which more than one third of the Egyptian population live in informal areas and below the poverty line. And it has failed to come up with any ideas to help the people. It pays lip service to investment and tourism, but its infatuation with neoliberalism is the only sign of policy it has exhibited so far. One wonders sometimes, does the Muslim Brotherhood wish us to forget about earthly miseries and focus instead on the rewards of the afterlife?

The Brotherhood’s primary obsession is not policy, but identity. It may seem an unusual obsession, but it comes naturally to a group that originally emerged to fight what it then considered to be ungodly communism. Some Muslim Brotherhood members consider any intervention by the state in the economy as a form of communism. Stimulating production, building factories, and boosting agriculture is not their top priority. Instead, they are willing to address wheat shortages by imposing a quota of three loaves per person per day. And their solution to the public debt problem is to raise taxes and prices.

Neoliberals to the hilt, they are not interested in managing the economy, but in copying ready-made formulas. Figuring out the best policy doesn’t seem to be a part of their modus operandi. Why come up with solutions if you can get your answers in recipes?

Everything that really matters is being ignored while identity becomes the main focus for our energies. The Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t talk to anyone, doesn’t like to listen, and is not interested in compromises.

It is hard to seek compromises unless you are willing to admit that you don’t have a monopoly on the truth, or that the truth is not a divine thing, which is not the viewpoint embraced by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies. The country is being torn apart, but that doesn’t seem to worry the Brotherhood much.

When the Muslim Brotherhood ditches politics in favour of identity, when it sacrifices policymaking in favour of ready-made recipes, it puts not only its political future but also that of the country at risk.

 
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/1657/21/Still-focussed-on-identity-.aspx

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Ahmed Shawki: Perspectives for the Left - Socialism 2013 Tsar To Lenin Tariq Ali & Oliver Stone "Untold History of the US" (May, 2013) Marx's Early Writings: Once More Unto the Breach: Video 2 of 2 Marx's Early Writings: Once More Unto the Breach: Video 1 of 2 Marxism & the Legacy of Subaltern Studies Tariq Ali: the crisis in Syria - questions and answers Scotland: Tariq Ali on independence;Dismantling the British State: Strategy, Tactics and Ideology Luxemburg, Lenin, Levi: Rethinking revolutionary history The power of the people Anti Stalin Left . How should socialists organise? Paul Le Blanc, Gilbert Achcar discuss Leninism, left unity, revolutionary parties Is religion good or evil? Michael Lebowitz: Primitive accumulation versus contested reproduction Adam Hanieh: A strategic overview of the struggles in the Middle East Relevance of Marxism Today The future of the Bolivarian Revolution after Hugo Chavez Enter the video embed code here. Remember to change the size to 310 x 250 in the embed code.

Recent Comments

There is something about me..

Recent Comments

Recent Posts