Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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No matter what he says or does, Jamal Mubarak will always remain the son of Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak. Jamal had practiced his right as a political activist for the National Democratic Party (NDP) and stated to the attendees of the Davos forum that necessary measures would be established upon the utilization of religion in politics in order for religion not to be exploited and for politics not to exploit. Such words may have had some value had they not been coming from the president’s son. It is for this reason that members of the Muslim Brotherhood had attacked him, as they believed that his words were aimed at them. The movement stated that the president’s son is the last person on earth who should criticize the Brotherhood. Jamal Mubarak is a spoiled member of the ruling party (NDP) and makes the most of his father’s authority so how could he condemn the Brotherhood who resort to support from God?

The truth is that the exploitation of religion through banks, honey sellers, drugstores, cola producers and of course, politicians, is a phenomenon that is doomed to last. This explains the victory of the United Iraqi Alliance as they raised posters showing Ayatollah Al-Sistani and the success of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian elections as they claimed, “Islam is the only solution.” It may be that there are good intentions in some hearts however; it does seem that Islam is being exploited. Swiss banks are now opening Islamic accounts, Australian butchers claim that they are slaughtering according to the Islamic method and others inadequately present religious programs.

During a conversation with a member of the Iraqi National Accord, before the elections, he stated that the Alliance lies, that they raise Al-Sistani’s picture who had declared that he would not support one party over another. I asked him, “Why would your party not raise posters of Al-Sistani in areas where it would have an effect and do as they do, especially as you are not against Al-Sistani, nor he against your party.” He refused claiming that that would be rigging. The battle between the NDP and the Muslim Brotherhood will not succeed unless the NDP establishes a Sharia committee in its council and lifts posters of sheikhs as well as pictures of NDP leaders. The other option is that the Muslim Brotherhood stops using religion as its source of debate and competition. Undoubtedly, the Muslim Brotherhood would not accept such a proposition as this would cause their supporters to lose faith in them.

The claims that parties exploit religion to achieve their goals can only be refuted once their attempts have failed in governing. The only similar experience took place in Turkey. In time, people will soon discover that such parties are simply like the rest; their use of religious slogans does not represent a raise in living standards or a guarantee of work opportunities. It is for this reason that people say that parties create their own external enemies, just as Khomeini did in a number of his battles for the sake of diverting attention away from his government’s flaws.

This does not mean that the rest of the parties are much better. The genuine democratic experiences prohibit the utilization of religion and its amalgamation with authority. The respect for religion and its figures places them on another level and protects them from other parties. This, however, will not be the case for the Muslim Brotherhood as they are well aware if they do not succeed in providing job opportunities and medical care and stick to their religious slogans only.