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Egypt: Disputes within the MB on Position towards Shia | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Disputes within the Muslim Brotherhood [MB] regarding its position towards the Shia doctrine have continued despite that leading figures of the MB underlined the importance of focusing on the common enemy instead of seeking to create more disputes between Sunnis and Shia.

The MB refused to say that there are Shia attempts to penetrate Sunni states, highlighting that the reason for the attacks against the Shia were of a political nature.

Disagreements on the MBs position towards the Shia came to light once again between MB officials Yousef Nada and Dr Mahmoud Ghazlan, after Nada wrote an article attacking those who opposed his position towards the Shia. He said, “They do not understand nor do they want to understand, and they have a superficial, exaggerated, selective way of thinking.” This pushed Ghazlan to respond in an article published online in which he accused him [Nada] of promoting Shia ideology.

The Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Mahdi Akef sought to contain the disputes by issuing a statement in which he said, “Engineer Yousef Nada and Mahmoud Ghazlan expressed their own opinions regarding the Shia and this does not reflect the opinion of the Supreme Guide’s office.”

In a telephone conversation with Asharq Al-Awsat, Akef said that the attacks launched by Sunni countries against the Shia are caused by their own weakness and division and stated that the Sunni states form the majority. Asked about his position towards the Shia, Akef said, “It is jurists who talk about [different] sects.”

Akef stated that he was surprised by the attacks on the Shia and the exploitation of the Hezbollah cell case, saying, “This is nonsense,” because the intentions were righteous and this exonerates them. Hezbollah came to help those suffering from the blockade in Gaza.

Angry and condemning, Akef added, “This is Egypt that blockades its brothers in Palestine…this is Egypt that has no value anymore in the Arab and Islamic worlds.”

However Dr Mohammed Habib, deputy supreme leader, refused to get involved in the issue of Sunnis and Shia: it has been agreed that this case would be closed.

A leading figure in the MB Issam al Aryan refused to say whether there had been attempts to convert [people] to Shiism and believes that the issue goes back to politics, indicating that it is easier to convert from the Shia to the Sunni school of thought. He said, “One of the constants of the Shia school of thought is waiting for the Hidden Imam who has been absent for over 1200 years. If he hasn’t come back in all this time then it is easier to convert to the Sunni doctrine as this is what the Shia did when Khomeini established the Wilayat al Faqih in an intelligent manner as a way to get closer to the Sunni doctrine.” He added, “The main issue amongst the Shia is the issue of Wilayat al Faqih and the Imamate, which they say is obligatory, and that the Imamate must be followed and must be limited to descendants of the Prophet. None of them are descendants now, is Khomeini a descendant?”