Saturday, April 16, 2005

Kefaya's rainbow

Here's a piece of information I didn't know before. Kefaya's coordinator is a Christian, George Ishaq.

AbulEla Mady, main founder of the three-times rejected AlWasat (considered Islamic) party and member of the Kefaya movement, has a piece in this week's Dostour newspaper praising George as a respectable, patriotic, and political educator who leads the lines with courage, and explains why he was the best person to take this role. George took the initiative to communicate with the group, and to follow-up since the initial group's meetings in November 2003. Back then, everyone suggested George to to be the main coordinator of the group. No one was thinking of the religion of the people, but only of their patriotism and competency.

This explanation, coming from Mady who is an active Islamist that is working hard to found a party apparently represents the views of many like him. Josh Stacher from the Arabist group have written a very good study about AlWasat party (it can be found here). This study should be read by anyone who is making generalizations about Islamists.

Mady states his position, which he says reflects those he represents from the wasateyya vision of Islam, saying that it is based on a concept called mowatna (citizenship i believe). From a mature Islamic understanding, mowatna, among other things, is the basis for public work, and hence public leadership roles should be based on qualifications and patriotism, nothing else.

It seems that this mowatna concept is being adopted by Islamists who consider themselves moderate. I've heard Dr. Selim ElAwa talk before about mowatna, adopting it as the proper way of classifying the citizens. For those who don't know Selim ElAwa, he is the head (not sure of the title) of the World Union of Muslim Scholars (among other things that he is). This Union also has Dr. Yusuf AlQaradawy in a leading role.

This mowatna concept is one that needs to be studied carefully by those who advocate that Islamists are dangerous for non-Muslims, classifying them as dhimmis and making them pay gizzya, which are both nulled with the adoption of mowatna as the basis for viewing citizens.

Now, aside from the main point of this post, I think I fall in line with Kefaya --Egyptian Movement for Change-- in one thing atleast, and that's that I'd also like to see some real change, any change.

9 comments:

praktike said...

Mowatna ... very interesting. So does this mean that Al Wasat has explicitly repudiated the gizzya, or is that just your interpretation?

Mohamed said...

No, its not my interpretation. I have the talk by Dr. Selim that I refer to on a CD, explicitly saying that gizzya and ahl aldhimma are not applicable, and they should be replaced by the concept of mowatna.

Dr. Selim is not an official member of the Wasat Party, but he shares the same wasatteyya vision of Islam.

Mohammed said...

Fahmy Howaidy has a book titled : mowatenon la thimmiyon
"citizines and not thimma people" (ahl al thimma were requested to pay jizya)
its published in the 80's and I believe he's the first among islamists to talk about the issue of citizinship...

Mohamed said...

The interesting thing Mohammed is that this concept is actually starting to be implemented on the ground by an Islamist political movement (not just in theory), somewhat represented by AlWasat Party (under construction).

Mohammed said...

I don't know about that mohamed...
first, kefaya isn't an islamist party...
as for alwasat, i'm really skeptical.... the christians might be just there as a face lift, as the ikhwan used to do... throw in few women and few christians on the lists for PR...
I'm saying this because alwasat program ( which i read about a year ago) focuses on saying we are not like the ikhwan... we are progressive and we believe in a civil state and citizinship... which is really great... but why would a christian would want to join a party that's just like other secular parties in respecting their rights.... except that it has no program whatsoever other than that...

Mohamed said...

I'm not talking about Kefaya here (no one is claiming that Kefaya is Islamist, they are mostly hardcore leftists), I'm talking about AlWasat's representation within Kefaya. They are participating in the Kefaya movement even though the main coordinator is Christian (while the Ikhwan are criticizing Kefaya calling it a mere parade), and not just that, but they're praising the guy (that says that they're not just theorizing it). As for AlWasat's program, I think too that they're trying to get Christians involved in the Party mainly to prove their point, but it doesn't mean its a farce. They believe in what they're selling, whether its better for a Christian to join that party or another, that's a different story. Again, that the Wasat's main founder was willing and even praising to have a Christian lead him and those that he represents indicates that this is not a farce.

How different is AlWasat from the other parties? Well, they're definetely not Nassirists, not leftists, not liberals (Wafd or Nour), not gov-NDP, and we all know now that they're not Ikhwan any more. So that sounds like something different to me.

Mohammed said...

( not Nassirists, not leftists, not liberals (Wafd or Nour), not gov-NDP, and we all know now that they're not Ikhwan )
that's exactly my point mohamed...
what's their social, political or economic plans?

anyway, madi's own personal journey is one of the most interesting ones out there...

Al Sharief said...

This is an intresting post conversation so far between "Mohamed" and MohamMed" almost good enought to be a "selftalk" of an "ordinary" enlightened Egytian ...
Keep at it, it's good stuff :-)
No confusion of who is who.

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