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Egypt is fighting our battle - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I have previously written, on numerous occasions, that if Egypt thrives then the Arab world thrives, and if it falters then so too does the region as a whole. Therefore, what is happening today is that Egypt is fighting our battle, for all of us. This is a battle for the state, against those who want to destroy the very concept. What is happening in Egypt is not a “corrective revolution”, or the inauguration of a new pharaoh, rather it is an awakening against those trying to destroy the concept of the state.

This state of affairs has been brought about due to the audacity of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is trying to control all joints of the Egyptian state. After excluding the military and neutralizing the media, now it is the turn of the judiciary, and this is something that we previously warned against. All of this is represented by the unprecedented decrees issued by the Egyptian President, who said: I am the state and the state is I. Thus, what is happening in Egypt is not the Egyptians’ battle, but a battle for all the Arabs, specifically those who believe in the concept of the civil state, and not the religious state along the lines of Iran. Here I am not calling for religion to be excluded, nor am I adopting an anti-religious stance, and I ask the reader to consider the following with complete rationality and calm.

In modern Arab history we have seen numerous politicians from a religious background, but these were statesman who respected pluralism and diversity, they acted in accordance with the principle: Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. They were not short-sighted; they did not use religion to exclude others, rather their religion was between them and God. They worked day and night to revive the concept of the state, entrenching its conditions and the concepts of the statesman, and thus the post-colonial Arab state was, for example, more tolerant and open. This was until the curse of the Khomeini revolution fell upon us, re-awakening the religious genie in the region. Following this, many were compelled to enter into religious point-scoring with Islamic Iran. Thus, Egypt’s battle today is a battle for all the Arabs and what we want for our future, our states and our children. Do we want respected states, with politicians servicing their citizens and protecting their countries, or do we want people like Khaled Mishal, Hassan Nasrallah, Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri or even Nuri al-Maliki? This is especially after it has been proven that political Islam, whether Shiite or Sunni, is a failed model in terms of running a modern state, whilst the same goes for military rule.

Egypt’s battle is a battle to rekindle the value of the state and the statesman, whether the latter comes from a religious background or not. Religion is for God; the nation is for everyone. Egypt’s battle is not a battle for democracy, for the region still has a long way to go in that regard, especially as we see kings, sheikhs and emirs offering concessions to their people whilst “Islamist” presidents – and here I am talking about political Islam – want to abolish the judiciary and all other authorities so they can have the last word. Egypt’s battle is a battle for the state, which should be established on the following concepts: security, education, defense, health and decent living standards for all citizens. The state should not be founded upon Islamic guidance, whether Sunni or Shiite.

Thus, what is happening in Egypt today will impact upon the entire region. When Egypt militarizes so does a large part of the surrounding area, and when Egypt becomes overly religious so too does the region. If Egypt re-awakens the concept of the state, and rightly so, then the region will do the same. The story here is not about hostility to religion, but rather it is about those who exploit it, Sunni and Shiite, who devote their efforts to destroying the concept of the state.

Therefore, this battle concerns all of us; it is not a battle for the Egyptians alone!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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