THE COPTIC NATIONALIST AND POLITICAL ISLAM القوميون الأقباط و الإسلام السياسي
The Muslim Brotherhood Logo: The Quran and two swords on a green background (green was the colour of Muhammad’s banner) – underneath the swords is the Arabic word “wa a’aiddu” (And prepare), which is the first word in a Quran verse that reads: “And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrorise the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know but whom Allah knows.” (Anfal:60)
The following has been taken from the following article (https://copticliterature.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/the-m-question-the-coptic-nationalists-and-the-muslims-of-egypt), and is meant to focus on Political Islam and the Islamists, to make the concepts clear to the reader. Full more detail, please, go to the original article.
COPTIC NATIONALISTS DO NOT HAVE A QUARREL WITH THE ISLAM OF MODERN MUSLIMS – they have, however, legitimate concerns about Political Islam, which is the Islam of the Islamists, otherwise called Islamism.
Why is that? Are they anti-Islam? Are they a bunch of Christian extremists as our opponents would love to be able to characterise us? There can be nothing further than that.
Why do Coptic nationalists then criticise, and resist, political Islam? The answer is straight forward:
Coptic nationalists criticise and resist the ideology and history of Political Islam because the Islamists want to rule not only themselves but also the Copts by their political Islam. Had it not been for this despotic tendency of theirs, we would have had no quarrel with them at all. We are not interested in, or concerned about, the doctrines, rituals and rules of Islam, such as its prayer, fasting, marriage, zakat, etc., and which Muslims follow in their own lives, and within their own community, without wanting to impose them on us. The Islamists, however, are different – they want to impose Islamic hegemony over us; and they work to restrict our God-given human rights and fundamental freedoms. Political Islam, as the Islamists practise and publicise, is an aggressive and imperialist ideology. It does not want to rule its followers only, but the entire world, and that by brutal force, which has characterised its ends and means. This is the fundamental flaw of political Islam as Coptic nationalists see it. Abraham Lincoln famously said: “When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government – that is despotism.” We find ourselves obliged to repeat Lincoln’s message here, applied to our local situation: When the Muslim man rules himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs the Copts, that is more than self-government – that is despotism. For this, and this alone, Coptic nationalists resist political Islam.
What is, then, this Political Islam’s very dangerous ideology, which we don’t like? The answer to this is as follows:
1. Its political theory divides the whole world into two sections, the part which is ruled by political Islam, which they call Dar al-Islam (The House of Islam) and the part which is not ruled by Islam, and which is inhabited by non-Muslims, which they call Dar al-Harb (The House of War). They envisage no lasting peace or truce with Dar al-Harb, and they call for jihad (holy war) against it – their jihad is a legal, compulsory, communal effort to expand the territories ruled by Muslims at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims. In other words, it is perpetual war, interrupted by truce, not peace, with non-Muslims only when Dar al-Islam is in a relatively weak position. This is the foundation of all jihadist thinking that has, in the last two decades, infested our world, and threatened its peace, inflicting unimaginable suffering to thousands of innocent civilians through a cruel campaign of terrorism that has killed more Muslims than followers of any of the other religions.
2. It believes in one sort of nationalism – Islamic nationalism, and aim at uniting all Muslim nations under one banner of a Caliphate. Islamism, this political ideology of Islam, believes in no Egyptian nationalism, or even Arab nationalism. The Indonesian Muslim is closer to Egyptian Islamists than their Coptic next-door neighbour. In the words of their ex-leader, Mohamed Mahdy Akef, “Toz fi Misr” (To hell with Egypt) – what matters is Islam, not Egypt, less so the Copts.
3. In it the sovereignty in the state belongs to Allah, and not to the nation. We all know that Allah does not actually reside in a political community, and what stand in for Allah in their ideology are actually them – those Islamists, who will tell us what Allah says and what he doesn’t say. The Islamic state is theocratic, and does not believe in democracy, let alone liberal democracy. There is no notion of a real parliament, or a precept of the will of the people. Anyone who opposes “Allah’s” wish is dealt with the utmost cruelty. There is only despotism in such a state, a state whose basic creed is the antithesis to natural rights and the fundamental freedoms of man that are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related documents.
4. It unashamedly discriminates between its Muslim subjects and those non-Muslim rayah, who are called by it “dhimma”. Those non-Muslims are governed by what is called Dhimmittude Pact, which is explained by the Pact of Umar – a pact imposed on non-Muslims by their Muslim conquerors. In the Islamic state there is no notion of citizenship, and no possibility for a social contract, either between the citizens and their rulers or between citizens and citizens. The non-Muslims are not free or equal before the law, and the often quoted statement that in Islam “Non-Muslims enjoy with the Muslims the same rights and bear with them the same burden/duties”, is in fact an empty statement that, in fact, is contradicted by a large battery of evidence.
5. It looks at non-Muslim religions as kuffr (unbelief), and at the non-Muslims as kuffar (unbelievers) for which only one penalty is deserved – death. This definitely applies to non-bookish religions, except, for historical reasons, Zoroastrianism. For bookish-religions (Ahl al-Kitab), i.e., Christianity and Judaism, the penalty of death has been substituted by jizia, for their financial value, as golden geese of the state, was early recognised by the Islamic state. Jizia is not just a hefty monetary levy on heads, it is a penalty that must be accompanied by humiliation of the dhimmi – humiliation that includes not only the humiliation rituals at the time of paying jizia, of which Muslim scholars showed an unsurpassed genius of drafting, but also a comprehensive set of humiliating rules and conditions that are imposed on the non-Muslim and his community throughout his life, at the time of paying the jizia and outside it, and that degrade the humanity and dignity of the non-Muslim in the Islamic state. The claims by modern Islamists that jizia is a substitute for military service is not supported in fact by any of the major Muslim schools of fikh, including the Shafi’i and Maliki schools that are followed by Egyptian Muslims. It was proposed only by a tiny group of clerics from Transoxiana, and cannot represent, or replace, the ijma’a (consensus) of the major schools of fikh. Other deceivers claim that jizia is the equivalent of the Muslim zakat, or a tax collected for the undertaking of public works – the absurdity of all that, a claim that is not supported by any scripture or fikh, generates only contempt.
These are then the main tenets of political Islam, which all civilised and freedom loving peoples would feel strongly against.
This Political Islam is propagated by divers of peoples across the globe, collectively called the Islamists (the term is different from the term ‘Muslim’). While moderate Muslims want to worship God in their own way, without imposing their religion on others, the Islamists want to impose Islamic theocracy in Egypt through deception, violence, or the abuse of democracy. They endanger not only the legal position of the Copts in the State, but also that of women, secularists, democrats, liberals, socialists, and other moderate Muslims who do not subscribe to their vision of Islam, or submit to their will.
Coptic nationalists can identify two main broad groups of these:
1. The Muslim Brotherhood is the larger of the two groups. They subscribe to all the precepts and ideology of political Islam, which are documented in their profuse literature, and which I have summarised above, but they have learned from their repeated defeats by secular Egyptian rulers, that deception is the only hope for them to seize political power. Recently, they have been talking of their belief in democracy. But they are easily exposed when one discusses with them the depth of their beliefs. It is clear that the democracy they want is one that allows them through universal suffrage, and exploitation of Egypt’s 18 million illiterate adults, to achieve a tyranny of the majority, just as the Nazis got into power in 1933 through the ballot box and ended up by dismantling the very foundation of democracy. Their version of democracy is illiberal, intolerant, and admits of no opposition. In their propaganda they often resort to denials, cosmetic application, adulteration of facts, and concealment of embarrassing resources. They can fairly be described as “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.
2. The second group, are not less dangerous, but they are more honourable, because they have been honest with their beliefs, and do not resort to deception. Such group includes Jama’a Islamiyya, and many other splinter groups, which have all been born from the womb of the Muslim Brotherhood. This most dangerous group uses violence in trying to seize power, and has no taste for any niceties, or resort to democracy as a Trojan horse to achieve their objectives, as the Muslim Brotherhood do. They take their sacred sources literally, and do not try to hide the text, or the meaning, of Muslim literature. If Allah commanded them to slay, maim, and rob, then all is good. They do not use their reason, or consult their conscience. The phrase “sons of vipers” catches their sinister nature best.