Thanks Asaad Elepti for sending this link to quite a revealing MEMRI transcription of what may prove to be a very important interview, a portion of which is below and the rest can be read at MEMRI.ORG:
Senior Official in Egyptian Islamic Jihad: If We Come to Power, We will Launch a Campaign of Islamic Conquests to Instate Shari’a Worldwide: ‘The Christian is Free to Worship His God in His Church, but if the Christians Make Problems for the Muslims, I Will Exterminate Them’
On August 13, 2011, the Egyptian daily Roz Al-Yousef published an interview with Sheikh ‘Adel Shehato, a senior official in Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), who, on March 23, 2011, was freed from prison in the wake of the Egyptian revolution. He was imprisoned in 1991 upon returning from a three-year sojourn in Afghanistan.
In the interview, Shehato expressed complete opposition to democracy “because it is not the faith of the Muslims, but the faith of the Jews and Christians.” He said that although the youth of the Arab revolutions have not declared the implementation of shari’a as one of their goals, the mujahideen nonetheless identify with their aspiration to overthrow the Arab rulers, whom they had always considered “infidels who must be killed because they do not rule according to the shari’a.” He added, however, that “once Allah’s law is applied, the role of the people will end and Allah will reign supreme.” He went on to say that although he supports Al-Qaeda’s ideology, shari’a law would not be enforced by violence but by da’wa (preaching), whereas violence would be used only against the infidel Arab rulers.
Shehato said that if the mujahideen came to power in Egypt, they would launch a campaign of Islamic conquests aimed at subjecting the entire world to Islamic rule. Muslim ambassadors would be appointed to each country, charged with calling upon them to join Islam willingly, but if the countries refused, war would be waged against them. He also described the nature of the Islamic state to be established in Egypt: there would be no trade or cultural ties with non-Muslims; tourist sites at the pyramids, the Sphinx, and Sharm Al-Sheikh would be shut down “because the tourists come [there] to drink alcohol and fornicate,” and all tourists wishing to visit Egypt would be required to comply with the conditions and laws of Islam; all art, painting, singing, dancing, and sculpture would be forbidden, and all culture would be purely Islamic.
Following are excerpts of the interview:
Sheikh ‘Adel Shehato
The Term “Democracy” is Not in the Arab or Islamic Lexicon; Once Allah’s Law Reigns Supreme, the People’s Role will End
Q: “Do you support the uprising?”
Shehato: “…The [Egyptian] youth rose up for a certain ideal… They did not rise up in order to put the shari’a into practice, nor did they [complain] that Mubarak’s regime did not rule in accordance with the shari’a… As Muslims, we must believe that the Koran is our constitution, and that it is [therefore] impossible for us to institute a Western democratic regime. I oppose democracy because it is not the faith of the Muslims, but the faith of the Jews and Christians. Simply put, democracy means the rule of the people itself over itself… According to Islam, it is forbidden for people to rule and to legislate laws, as Allah alone is ruler. Allah did not hand down the term [democracy] as a form of rule, and it is completely absent from the Arab and Islamic lexicon…”
Q: “If you do not believe in the rule of the people, why did you go out to Al-Tahrir Square with the slogan ‘he People Wants to Implement the Shari’a?’ Are you exploiting democracy in order to achieve what you want [only] to then abolish [democracy]?”
Shehato: “I am not exploiting democracy, since I have never joined and will never join politics or party activity… We believe that implementation of the shari’a [must be accomplished] far from the political game, though some [other] Islamic streams are willing to participate [in this game] in order to achieve the same goal [i.e., implementation of the shari’a]. We said that ‘the people wants to implement the shari’a‘ because most of the people are Muslims, and also based on [our] reading of the situation on the ground. [At the same time,] we did not make demands for the people’s sake in the people’s name, but demanded the rule of Allah. And once Allah’s law is instated, the role of the people will end and Allah will reign supreme.”
Q: “How do you reconcile your opposition to the will of the people with the notion of shura [consultation] in Islam?”
Shehato: “‘Shura’ in Islam means that alongside the Muslim ruler, there is a steering council comprising the finest of the senior Muslim clerics, to be selected on the basis of their piety and political leadership [abilities]. But there is no consultation with commoners, such as workers and fallahin, nor is there consultation over issues that contravene the shari’a.”
“The Christian is Free to Worship His God in His Church, but if the Christians Make Problems for the Muslims, I Will Exterminate Them”
Q: “What solution is the EIJ suggesting [today], after the revolution?”
Shehato: “…We still espouse the old jihadi ideology that is today the ideology of Sheikh Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the late Sheikh Osama bin Laden, and Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi… If the revolution was meant to overthrow the tyrant Mubarak, then we have always said that all the Arab rulers, without exception, are infidels who must be killed because they do not rule according to the shari’a. They are apostate infidels, as opposed to infidels like the Jews and Christians, and anyone who doubts that they are infidels is an infidel [himself].”
Q: “But we Egyptians have never regarded the Christians as infidels. [In fact,] many of us have Christian friends even closer than our Muslim friends.”
Shehato: “As a Muslim, I must support the Muslim and oppose the Christian. If there is a Christian who does me no harm, I will maintain limited contact with him. Islam [discusses] certain degrees of contact with the Christian, namely: keeping promises [that were made him], dealing honestly with him, treating him kindly, and befriending him. The first three are allowed, but the fourth [i.e., befriending the Christian] is deemed dangerous, for it contravenes the verse that says, ‘O you who believe! Do not take my enemy and your enemy for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth’ [Koran 60:1]. It is inconceivable that they should serve in judiciary or executive posts, for instance in the army or the police.”
Q: “Are you against blowing up churches?”
Shehato: “Yes and no. The Christian is free to worship his god in his church, but if the Christians make problems for the Muslims, I will exterminate them. I am guided by the shari’a, and it stipulates that they must pay the jizya tax while in a state of humiliation…”
Q: “These positions of yours frighten us, as Egyptians.”
Shehato: “I will not act [in ways] that contradict my faith just in order to please the people… We say to the Christians, convert to Islam or pay the jizya, otherwise we will fight you. The shari’a is not based on [human] logic but on divine law. That is why we oppose universal, manmade constitutions.”