Wednesday,18 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1252, (25 June - 1 July 2015)
Wednesday,18 July, 2018
Issue 1252, (25 June - 1 July 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Statements of intent

The Muslim Brotherhood continues its war of words against Egypt. Amany Maged reports

Mohamed Morsi
Mohamed Morsi
Al-Ahram Weekly

Less than a week after a Cairo court confirmed death sentences against Mohamed Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood members, another group of MB leading figures stood a military trial on Tuesday on charges of inciting for violence, committing hostile acts against the state and calling for targeting vital institutions, together with army and police officers. The defendants’ lawyer Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud said that the defense team is due to attend the first hearing session on Tuesday to get details about charges levelled against the defendants and results of investigations conducted with them.

Meanwhile, 334 Muslim ulema signed a statement urging Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdel-Aziz to act to counter “the injustice against the oppressed in Egypt before it is too late.”

The statement, called “Call of Egypt 2”, condemned the death sentences passed against Morsi and others as “unfair, tyrannical and oppressive,” and described the trials that led to the sentences as “politicised.”

In their appeal to the Saudi monarch the ulema said the issue “is not a domestic matter that concerns only Egypt but a general matter that concerns the entire Arab and Islamic nation.”

“The verdicts against the elected president Mohamed Morsi and his co-defendants are legally flawed and objectionable by any standard… They were issued by a criminal, coup-making authority that is not qualified to issue verdicts.”

The appeal further claimed that in upholding the death sentence against Morsi Egypt’s Grand Mufti of Egypt had acted on “a security apparatus report that has no bearing on Islamic law or jurisprudence, containing grave fallacies and falsehoods.” The ulema petitioned King Salman and “all other leaders of the Islamic nation” to “undertake their legal duty as ordained by their faith and champion oppressed Muslims before it is too late,” arguing that “the rational people of the world and its relevant institutions must undertake their legal and humanitarian duty to prevent the occurrence of this oppression and the implementation of the unjust verdicts.”  

The ulema went on to call on the Egyptian people to “continue their revolution and engage in comprehensive jihad against the enemies of justice, freedom and the people’s will.”

Former Brotherhood official Tarek Abul-Saad claims the organisation is increasingly using sheikhs and other religious pundits to incite its members to acts of violence following the sentencing of Morsi and other group leaders, including the Brotherhood’s supreme guide. He told journalists the statement by the ulema would precipitate new divisions in Muslim Brotherhood ranks, repeating the effect of their first “Call of Egypt”.

Sameh Eid, another dissident Muslim Brother, argued the appeal to Saudi Arabia to intervene to prevent the execution of the death sentences and push for reconciliation was symptomatic of the group’s desperation.

“There are ongoing attempts on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood to drag Saudi Arabia into the crisis between them and the state,” says Eid. But even if Riyadh wants to act in such a capacity, he warns it would face “enormous difficulties in brokering a truce with the Muslim Brothers for the simple reason the Egyptian people will never accept them again”.

Following the latest round of sentences handed to Morsi and other Brotherhood officials, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded the international community take action to pressure for their overturn. The sentences, he said, issued on the basis of instructions from the regime, constituted a threat to the stability of Egyptian society.

Metin Feyzioglu, head of the Turkish Bar Association, sent a letter to President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and international rights organisations reiterating calls to repeal the death sentence passed against Morsi.

In its first official reaction to the death sentences the Italian Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing “deep concern”.

“We hope that these sentences will be reconsidered. Italy, together with the EU, opposes capital punishment and is working to impose a global ban on it,” it said.

On the same day the Italian statement was issued White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the US was “deeply troubled by the politically motivated sentences handed down against former president Morsi and several others”.

He noted that Washington has “repeatedly raised concerns about the detention and sentencing of a variety of political figures in Egypt.”

The Islamist-oriented Moroccan government has remained silent. Asked by a journalist about the sentences the Moroccan government’s official spokesman refused to comment.

Amnesty International blasted the court verdicts as a “mockery of justice” and added, in a statement on 16 June, that they were “just another symptom of how horrendously broken Egypt’s justice system has become.”

“Call of Egypt 2” is probably best read as an implicit admission of the failure of the ulemas’ first “Call of Egypt” proclamation which was in essence a declaration of war against the Egyptian state.

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