Terrorism is an accusation made by the powerful against the weak as an excuse to commit the ugliest forms of terrorism against the weak while making the claim to be combating terrorism. Therefore, this term, or accusation, has not been properly defined in order to allow tyrants to justify their tyranny by distorting the image of their victims.
Therefore, here we will attempt to give a specific definition for terrorism in order for it to be used to measure actions and behaviour and to determine whether they ought to be classified as terrorism or not; “terrorism is the use of violence or threats to impose the will of the terrorist on others, or forcefully or violently seize what is not theirs.”
I say this in light of the lying media campaign launched by private television stations and Egyptian TV in an attempt to accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of being terrorists, and using this false claim as grounds for the brutal coup leaders to violate the group and its members, beginning with disregarding their lives and blood, seizing their funds and liberties, and detaining their leaders and members. Moreover, there are some politicians and media personalities who call for their removal, as if they were not Egyptians.
To prove this accusation wrong, I will talk about the Brotherhood’s position on violence and terrorism in terms of religious principles and practices:
Position on violence and terrorism in religious terms
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood are instilled with the sanctity of human life and blood, as the Holy Quran commands (if anyone kills a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind) and (And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him).
Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, “Your lives, your property, and your honour are sacred,” “The world perishing is less significant to Allah than a Muslim being killed unjustly,” and “the life of a Muslim is more sacred than the Ka’abah”.
Therefore, it is difficult for those who believe in this religion and its principles to intentionally harm anyone. In addition to this, the Brotherhood was subjected to horrendous torture in 1954 and 1965 in prisons, causing many to die, and once they were released, their torturers walked the streets of Egypt and the victims of this torture never harmed them verbally or physically.
Also, when some members of the Muslim Brotherhood who were in prison at the time tried to declare their torturers to be non-believers, the leaders in the prison rejected the matter of declaring others as non-believers, and the second leader of the Brotherhood wrote a research titled “Preachers, Not Judges” (Du’at la Qudat), and then gave these individuals the choice to abandon the idea of declaring others as non-believers or leave the group, which is what actually happened.
Position on violence and terrorism in practical terms
- Since members of the Brotherhood were released from prisons in the early 70’s, and until this day, the Brotherhood have not committed any acts of violence, and have stated that their message is peaceful and call people to Allah with wisdom and good intention. They also say that the Egyptian people are a devout Muslim nation by nature and that Egypt is a Muslin country that needs reforms in various fields.
- Nearly 50,000 members were detained during Hosni Mubarak’s reign, and a large number of their leaders were tried at military courts, had their money seized, and many members were tortured in prisons and the state security headquarters. Despite all of this, they did not resort to violence or use arms; instead, they remained patient.
- When the Twin Towers in New York were destroyed, they condemned the violence on the same day it occurred.
- In 1992, Hosni Mubarak talked to a European newspaper about the Brothers, and said they were a group that does not pursue violence or terrorism, but engages in politics.
- When acts of violence were widespread in Egypt by Islamic groups in the 90’s, they explicitly and clearly renounced such acts and demanded radical solutions for this phenomenon that not only relies on the security option. When the Islamic groups reviewed this idea and refrained from violence, the Brotherhood greatly welcomed this.
- The Muslim Brotherhood is a part of the people and is spread amongst them and carries a message of spreading good to the people in all its preaching, social, economic, educational, and medical forms; this cannot be achieved by a group that resorts to violence and terrorism.
- Members of the Muslim Brotherhood engaged in trade unions, student associations, and faculty clubs at universities and were greatly successful. Moreover, the members of these institutions felt a sense of loyalty, integrity and dedication in their service, and it would not be practical for engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, agronomists, students and professors to elect terrorists to manage their unions and their clubs.
- Under Mubarak, Muslim Brotherhood members also participated in parliamentary and local elections from Alexandria to Aswan, and despite the ferocity of fraud exercised against them, they achieved relative successes, most recently in the 2005 elections, where they won 20 per cent of the seats in Parliament, not including those fraudulently dropped; would the Egyptian people elect terrorists to represent them in parliament?
- The group organized and participated in peaceful demonstrations in protest of the extension of the rule of the ousted president, the desire to bequeath his position to his son, the demand for the independence of the judiciary, and other reasons, and each time they only detained the Brotherhood members, no matter how peaceful they remained.
- The 25th January revolution occurred in 2011, and the members of the Brotherhood participated in it from the beginning, and did well during its most difficult moments, especially the Battle of the Camels, which drove the group’s worst enemies to admit that if it were not for the Muslim Brotherhood, the revolution would not have been a success.
- The Muslim Brotherhood held four conferences before the revolution and one after it, all titled (For Egypt 1,2,3,4, and 5) in which it invited all the political forces and parties in Egypt, most of which, from the extreme right to the extreme left, attended. During these conferences, the situation in Egypt and the solutions to its problems were discussed, and they came up with a mumber of recommendations. Would these political parties and forces deal with, even accept the invitation of a group that adopts violence or terrorism?
- The Supreme Guide, Dr. Mohammed Badie, called on the political parties and national forces to run on one list in the first General Assembly elections after the revolution, as a form of national consensus. The Freedom and Justice Party, founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, adopted this idea and established an alliance, called the democratic alliance, which consisted of about 40 political parties and groups. This resulted in 10 parties joining the FJP list in the General Assembly elections, including right-wing, left-wing, Nasserist, and other parties.
- The list won 47.5 per cent of the General Assembly seats, and about 60 per cent of the Shura Council seats. Moreover, members of the FJP were among those elected as the leaders of the General Assembly and the Shura Council.
- The presidential elections were held and the people elected Dr. Mohammed Morsi, leader of the FJP, as President of the Republic in free and fair elections witnessed by the world.
- The Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party campaigned under the slogan “Together we build Egypt,” under which they executed the maintenance of public school facilities, created markets in order to provide goods to the citizens at affordable prices, and facilitated medical convoys to treat the poor and provide medicine to them in the needy villages and areas, as well as other services.
- The legitimately elected president faced large-scale plots for failure, obstruction, and sabotage extensively involving politicians who have lost all elections they ran in, institutions of the Deep State, businessmen from the National Party and its members, the police, who are accomplices with the thugs, media personalities bought by business men, and therefore launched a vicious campaign that promoted a frenzy of lies and insults, and Arab and regional countries where thrones are threatened by the example of an Islamic democratic system that will tempt their people to demand self rule. Moreover, the plot also involves some Western countries rejecting the libertarian independence project sought by President Mohamed Morsi to produce of food, medicine and weapons, and reject dependency on any external policy and outside demands.
- The Constituent Assembly reached a draft constitution, overcoming strenuous efforts to hinder it, even though the Assembly itself was formed in a consensual manner. In addition to this, the different articles were formed through a consensus process and an election was held, finding that 64 per cent approved the constitution.
- Preparations for elections to the House of Representatives began in order to continue the democratic course, leading to the stability of the country and the end of the transitional phase. However, the opposing politicians boycotted the elections, and the electoral and political rights laws were stalled in the Constitutional Court several times.
- The Muslim Brotherhood and its Coptic brothers and sisters have been on good terms for 85 years, and there was never a problem between the two parties throughout these 85 years. Moreover, the Brotherhood is well aware that there are those who want to spark the fire of sectarian incitement amongst the people, and therefore, always seek to extinguish this fire and keep the relationship within a human and natural context.
- Everyday life problems were deliberately escalated at the hands of those wanting the president and his government to fail. This was especially true in terms of electricity, petrol, and diesel as these politicians and media personalities exploited this crisis to incite the people against the president and the government. This caused the demands for early presidential elections on the grounds of bad management throughout the first year of office. Moreover, the army leaders took advantage of the protests and exaggerated them in order to stage a coup against democratic legitimacy, capture the elected president, suspend the constitution, and dissolve the Shura Council. None of these things were called for by the people; however, the leader of the coup (a minister) appointed new president who swore in a non-existent constitution, thus taking Egypt back to a military rule regime by means of this coup.
Before we go on with the events, we would like to address the matter of violence and terrorism attributed to the Muslim Brotherhood:
- This accusation has not been directed at the Brotherhood since the 70’s up until the military coup.
- The Muslim Brotherhood believes in the prohibition of aggression against human lives as well as the terrorisation of innocents, and promotes the peacefulness of its message and movement.
- The Brotherhood has not resorted to violence and terrorism, despite the injustices, oppression, and aggression their members are subjected to.
- The Brotherhood’s positions have and continue to be explicit in condemning violence and terrorism, and their members remain committed to peace.
- Islam commands its followers to preach with wisdom and good intention, and those who wish to gain the trust of people cannot use violence and terrorism, which causes people to reject and repel them.
- It is not possible for all levels of society to elect the Brotherhood in the House of Representatives, local, professional unions, student unions, and university club elections if the group adopted methods of violence and terrorism.
- When political parties and national forces accept the Muslim Brotherhood’s invitation to discuss the country’s issues and problems and agree to join forces in electoral alliances, does that not indicate the Brotherhood’s peacefulness and respect for public, democratic, constitutional, and legal sovereignty?
- All votes and seats obtained by the Brotherhood were done through free and fair elections; nothing was imposed on the people against their will.
- If we weigh everything together, including all the religious and practical aspects, against the above definition of terrorism, we would find that the Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with terrorism, neither in its words nor its actions.
Who are the terrorists?
The terrorists are those who use force, violence, or threats to obtain what they want or what they have no right to. If we apply this to what the coup leaders did and continue to do, we would find that they are the biggest terrorists:
- The coup leaders isolated and captured the president and have kept him hidden to this moment by means of force and violence. This president is the legitimate elected president and therefore is their senior leader. If there are those amongst the people who accused him of bad management, then there are a larger number of the people who remain dedicated to the legitimacy and are protesting in the streets, sacrificing themselves for two months. These matters should be dealt with through democratic measures, which are the best way mankind has found to resolve disputes between two conflicting parties, and the army has no place in this process.
- They swore they would respect the constitution and the law, but then rejected them.
- They used the anger of a segment of the population’s anger over the president’s performance and executed a complete military coup ostensibly in their favour but in reality to restore the military rule over the country, which exercises dictatorship and terrorism over the people; the coup was not demanded by the people.
- They involved the army in politics; in our experience, the army has failed in politics, management, and defence of the country’s borders.
- The coup leaders shut down opposing media outlets and launched new media that is supportive of them in order for them to slander those who are against the coup, and to spread lies, especially about the Brotherhood.
- They detained political leaders, fabricated charges against them, and froze their assets. By means of these measures, the coup leaders thought they would terrorise the Egyptian people and that the people would give in to their oppression and domination. However, the people realised this and sensed the danger of allowing the restoration of a military rule they had previously suffered under for 60 years, so they took to the streets, along with the Muslim Brotherhood, to peacefully protest. This revealed the terrorist side of the coup leaders, as they committed horrendous massacres never before experienced by their enemies, carried out by their sons, brothers, army, and police:
- They committed the Republican Guard massacre at dawn while the people were praying, killing 100, wounding 1,000, and detaining 800.
- They also committed Al-Manasa massacre killing about 150, wounding 4,500, and detaining many people.
- Massacres were also committed in Al-Nahda, Al-Mansoura, Desouk, Al-Gharbia, Alexandria, etc that lead to the loss of many lives, including women, not to mention a large number of wounded and detained individuals.
- The biggest massacre in the history of Egypt was committed on the day the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda Square protests were dispersed, as the peaceful protestors were shot and burned in their tents, the wounded were killed, and ambulances were prevented access to rescue the injured. Moreover, the bodies were bulldozed and set on fire, and a mosque and hospital was burned down, killing 2,600 citizens and injuring 10,000 others.
- Two days later, during a protest on Ramses Street, Al-Giza and in other provincial capitals the people were shot at from planes and tanks, killing 103 on Ramses Street alone, in addition to 100 in Al-Giza and other provinces. They then surrounded the Al-Fateh and Al-Tawheed mosques in Ramses where there were the bodies of martyrs and nearly 1,000 citizens. The two mosques were surrounded for 24 hours and then attacked, detaining a large number of the people in the mosques.
- Then a serious crime was committed in which 73 prisoners were killed by the Ministry of Interior, who claimed they died from suffocation. However, when their bodies were examined, they were found to be burned, torn, and bruised as a result of the brutal torture they endured while in prison till their death.
- These terrorists, whose hands are full of blood, now emerge to say that they combat terrorism and that there are those who open fire on the people in the streets, but the only people opening fire on the peaceful protestors in the streets are these terrorists and their soldiers who claim that the protestors possessed weapons. However, the protestors called on the Egyptian and international human rights organisations, as well as the professional unions, religious scholars, and public figures to carry out a full search of the tents and protest sites to prove this to be a lie. Moreover, there were many foreigners present at the protests around the clock who denied the presence of any weapons.
Thus, it has been shown that the terrorists are accusing their peaceful opponents, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, of terrorism in order for them to commit their own acts of barbaric and Fascist terrorism against the patient and peaceful Egyptian people.
Furthermore, it has been proven that the people reject the terrorist military coup and that the coup leaders are the terrorists who are refusing for Egypt to be a free nation.
The author is a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood. This is a translated of the Arabic which appeared on the Freedom and Justice Party site, 22 August, 2013
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.