Interview with a Muslim Brother
Le Monde's reporter Cécile Hennion interviews Mohammed Mahdi Al-Akef, Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood.
1. You are the Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood. What are your political plans? Our plans extend to all parts of life: politics, the economy, culture, education and even sports. We also respect the Constitution and Egyptian law. Together with other opposition groups, we represent a mouthpiece for the Egyptian people and their desire for free and fair presidential and legislative elections, democracy, multi-partisanship, lifting of the state of emergency, the release of all political prisoners and respect for human rights.
2. For once, is the Muslim Brotherhood on the same page as the United States? Rumors which suggest that I have been in negotiations with the Americans are lies. When I’m told that the US Ambassador wants to meet with me, I always reply that I am happy to do so on the condition that they respect protocol. That is, that a member of the Egyptian Foreign Minstry is present during any conversation. We reject all pressure or interference from abroad. The intervention of the United States in Afghanistan and in Iraq and their policies toward the Palestinians serve either their own interests or those of Israelis. The Egyptian people are perfectly capable of changing their government on their own.
3. Is the establishment of an Islamic republic one of your long-term goals? I’ve never discriminated between Muslims and Copts. Today the Copts have joined the fight for reforms alongside us. Of all religions, no one respects women more than Islam as sisters, mothers and daughters. We consider them as independent persons who can dispose of their property as they like, just as men. There is no country which applies the laws of the Sunna and of the Koran, the only sources of law recognized by the Muslim Brotherhood, as it should. Islam in the political sphere should not be judged according to the current circumstances in which most Muslims today live—under dictatorships sponsored by the West. The Islam which we practice is modern and civilized.