Wednesday, 29 June 2011

An interview with one of Egypt's hardline Salafi sheiks

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Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

Abdel Moneim Al-Shahat, spokesperson for Egypt's "Scientific Salafis"
We've just posted an article on our main site that we think is well worth a read. While must of the discussion surrounding the role of conservative forms of Islam in the future politics of Egypt has centred on the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafist movement, which arguably represents a more hardline strand of Islam, has also mobilised in order to stand in the country's forthcoming elections.

Austin Mackell, a freelancer currently based in Cairo, secured an interview for us with Abdel Moneim Al-Shahat, the spokesperson of the "Scientific Salafists", and the result is a fascinating (and perhaps worrying) insight into the vision Islamic parties have for Egypt's democratic future:
"He begins with a clear statement that, while the liberal conception is that a person should be free so long as they don't harm others, Salafis believe that freedom should be limited by God's law. While they accept the democratic mechanism as a “tool” for governance, they reject it as a philosophical basis. This position, he argues, is justified by the second article of the Egyptian constitution, which was retained in the recent constitutional amendments, which states that the basis of the country’s legal system is Sharia. Al-Shahat extrapolates from this that therefore any law passed in Egypt must conform to Sharia. Democracy, he explains, is only acceptable to Salafis as a method for deciding between “variations” in interpretations of Islamic law."
 Read the full piece over on our main website.
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