Islamic movements did not reach the financial, business and media elites

dr. Saad Eddin El Othmani, former head of the Moroccan government and former secretary general of the Justice and Development Party, follows the strengths and weaknesses of currents with an Islamic reference. Its strength lies, according to him, in what he called “internal democracy”. As for the weakness, it is embodied in the lack of influence of these movements on the areas of solid power, namely the financial, business and media elites. .

Al-Othmani believes, in an interview for Hespress, that while the Islamic currents were in the ranks of the opposition, they interacted, criticized and proposed, but participating in the government faced restrictions that reduced the margins of their movement according to contexts and circumstances.

Al-Othmani, a psychiatrist and lawyer who also has intellectual and Islamic publications, confirms that the renewal of religious discourse should not affect the constants of faith, adding that religious extremism is not necessarily related to Islam and those associated with it, but to all trends, sects and religions may know forms of extremism.

between the opposition and the government

At the beginning, El-Othmani drew differences between the positions of his Justice and Development Party in the opposition and in the management of public affairs, saying that this party has already passed the phase of the opposition, then it spent ten years in government management, and its positive and clear trace was visible in many political, human rights, economic and social files.

He added, explaining that “the difference between the opposition and management pages is that the opposition is mainly an evaluation of public policies and the expression of proposals and different views, while the government management page is a contribution to the management of state institutions and the public. administration according to what the constitutional data allows in terms of authority and jurisdiction, and contribution to the management of things.” State and local year in such a way as to guarantee a dignified life of the citizen and guarantee him his just right to benefit from the bounty and wealth of the country. Consequently, the margin of action and influence in the opposition is much smaller than in the leadership position.

Islamist retreat

In response to a question about the interpretation of the revival of movements and parties of “political Islam” in the period called the “Arab Spring”, then their decline and rapid exit from the sphere of governance in a number of Arab countries, Al-Othmani replied that “the entire international climate has become a regressive climate on a democratic level”.

He explained that “the old democracies are facing a crisis that is mainly manifested in the increase of electoral reluctance, the decline of trust in institutions, the escalation of difficulties in the formation of governments, the decline of the role of political parties in shaping and other aspects that have become the subject of political science studies.”

“This crisis, described in some literature as deep, has an impact on the countries of the South,” says El-Othmani, adding that “today there are clear democratic and human rights regressions that differ from one country to another, but which are almost universal in our countries. Therefore, the political background concerns the general situation, as well as all reform currents or parties in various colors.”

According to a former Moroccan official, the claim that “the decline refers only to parties or currents with an Islamic reference is an incorrect view of transformations and development,” adding that “those parties and currents grow and progress more in societies and contexts that differ in a reasonable level of democratic practices and political openness, but in the context of retreat It is not only about the loser, but above all the homelands and peoples.

The Islamist practice of “political taqiyyah”

In response to a question about the most prominent strengths and weaknesses of Islamic movements, Al-Othmani replied that “it is difficult to enumerate strengths and weaknesses, just as it is difficult to evaluate an experience to which it belongs.” understand that “in general, it can be said that the most prominent strength of currents with an Islamic reference is its internal democracy and a set of values ​​that frame its work, and the most prominent weakness is the lack of influence of these currents in areas of solid power, namely the financial, business and media elites.

Do Islamists practice a kind of “political taqiyya” because they interfere and stir up debates in moral files, such as freedom of relationship and the right to abortion, and others, when they are in the position of the opposition, but when they participate in the government, they resort to silence about these files?

Another question Al-Othmani answered by saying that many of these currents were in an opposition position, which gave more room for movement, and the main function of the opposition is interaction, criticism and suggestion. As for government participation, it has limitations and a margin of movement that becomes smaller and larger according to contexts, circumstances, etc., and it also has its own priorities.

The former prime minister added: “Expression of opinion is the most important mechanism for the opposition, while the most important mechanism for influencing management is action. So the positions can sometimes evolve, but what always changes are the mechanisms of influence and intervention, and each position has its own article.

According to the same speaker, his Justice and Development Party’s position on the aforementioned issues did not change between the opposition era and the government administration, but generally remained the same, indicating that “those positions were documented and published in two phases,” he said.

Misunderstanding of battle lines

Far from politics that is close to the legal interests of man, and in response to a question about the connection between the misunderstanding of the verses about struggle and jihad in the Holy Qur’an and religious extremism and terrorism, Al-Othmani emphasized that “the people have agreed that jihad is for introducing the religion of Islam and spreading its teachings is the duty of the nation, and jihad is an Islamic concept. Nabil has a broad concept, so he calls the fight against the soul, passion and Satan, and he calls it jihad with a statement and argumentation, and the spread of correct knowledge and healthy concepts, and he calls a fight against the enemy that aims to repel aggression and deter tyranny.

And the same speaker added that “a misunderstanding of the verse of the Holy Qur’an about fighting prevailed, and this was one of the entrances to the confusion of Islam in the past and in modernity, and one of the entrances to extremism and extremism and the appearance of violent groups, which led to spilling blood of Muslims in many situations,” noting that “an accurate understanding of Qur’anic verses according to an integrated structure that takes into account legislative intent and Islamic wisdom is a necessary thing.

This examination of the understanding of the verses of the Qur’an, according to al-Othmani, is based on four basic principles: there is no compulsion in religion, the fact that peace and cooperation are the basis of Muslims’ relations with others, and the fact that the reason for war in Islam is a response to aggression, and finally the purpose of jihad in Islam is to protect freedom of religion.

The author of the book “Religion and politics is discrimination, not separation” concluded that “the creation of principles in relations with other nations is war, which is considered the main entrance to extremism”, emphasizing that correcting views at this level is what scientists must work on in order to achieve a legitimate goal in the relations of Muslims with others.

End of time of Quranic verses

Commenting on the controversy sparked by his statements at a scientific symposium on the end of time verses of the Qur’an, the politician and jurist claimed that many of the issues raised in connection with his scientific participation were tainted by haste and insufficient knowledge of studies that were detailed in his view. , explaining that “the saying that there are verses specific to the people or the time of the Prophet, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, is what the commentators and people of knowledge stated among the companions, followers and those after them.

And he explained that “this type of verses is mentioned in a general form, but I want them to be specific, what is meant here by special verses, and some scholars call them abrogated verses, and the abrogation here is not in the late fundamentalist sense, but in in the broadest sense, and what made some go wrong, in my opinion, is the lack of access to the jurisprudence of these imams.”

And the speaker concluded the fifth noble verse of Surah al-Tawbah, which are the words of the Most High: “When the holy months pass, kill the polytheists wherever you find them, and capture them and surround them and wait for them every time.” ambush”, stating that its context indicates that this refers to the Arab polytheists who expelled the Prophet, may peace be upon him and peace be upon him, from Mecca. And the believers were tortured and killed, and many of them were imprisoned just because they crossed to Islam After the migration, they took money from the Muslims and confiscated their property, after which they launched a war against them to eradicate them.

The speaker went on to say that “the claim that a Qur’anic verse is specific to a nation or circumstance should not be subject to lust and whim, but to legal evidence and the sayings of respected scholars. The Almighty is not on his right side, which we must also beware of.

Restoration of religious speech

Returning to the fundamental point of the renewal of religious speech, the Islamic leader emphasized that the renewal of religious discourse is a topic that many scientists and thinkers have written about, in the past and present, and the renewal can only be based on knowledge. The first condition.

As for the second condition, Al-Othmani added, it is “knowing the sayings of the scholars and their differences. Sometimes it is a matter of disagreement between the companions of God’s Messenger, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, or between their followers, or between the imams of schools opinions. What we often encounter in everyday practice.

The third condition – according to the speaker – is “knowledge of the data of modern science on the topic in question, because many talk about topics in which data was created and concepts changed, based on data from several centuries ago or based on amputated modern data.”

Al-Othmani’s speech ended by stressing that “renovation should not affect the constants of religion, but sometimes we are faced with a discourse that considers every part related to the reality of the era of the message as a constant that must be stale, and that is a wide field for consideration and diligence which requires a lot of humility, a lot of listening to all opinions and a lot of courage.” Also”.

Dealing with religious extremism

On the issue of religious extremism and the appropriateness of dealing with it with a security approach, Al-Othmani replied that dealing with extremism, whatever its type, is not an easy task, just as extremism is not necessarily close to Islam and those associated with it. Rather, all trends, sects and religions can know forms of extremism, and one of its examples today is the right wing. Extremist and racist tendencies have spread in a number of Western countries.

And he went on to say: “If there is religious extremism in our societies, then there is secular extremism in turn that also needs attention, dismantling and treatment, and the best treatment for any extremist thought is the conduct of an intellectual and educational approach.” which works to spare generations from falling into any extremist or extremist thought.”

What is this curriculum based on? Al-Othmani responds by saying: “The school and the educational curriculum play an important role in this regard, inculcating a culture of respect for others and respecting differences of opinion, possessing the ability for dialogue and calm intellectual debate, and imbibing a culture of moderation and balance, as well as creating a peaceful intellectual discussions on raised and disputed topics. It would prevent the spread of extremism.”

The speaker reaffirmed that “the basis for the relationship of Muslims with others is peace and cooperation, not war and discord, which is an important Islamic principle, but extremist ideology is often built on the fact that the basis for this relationship is war and conflict, and in creates seeds of tension and fear in multi-religious societies, which is This is an issue that must be resolved with full clarity.”

And what about violent extremism, or what has come to be called “violent extremism”?… Al-Othmani responds that dealing with this type of extremism on the security front is necessary, noting that “in our countries and in many regions of the West and Eastern world, individuals or groups of different denominations and religions, Use violence against their opponents or to confuse their societies. This cannot be satisfied by discussion and opinion. Instead, legal mechanisms and security confrontation must be used to protect societies from their rebellion. “

The speaker went on to say that “in this case too, a comprehensive approach must be taken, not only focusing on the security aspect, but also relying mainly on the intellectual, educational, political, economic and social aspect, because contexts of political closure or social injustice are often the source convictions for those who accept extremist ideology or cause for the spread of violent extremism.”

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