Sunday, February 12, 2012

Egyptian Presidential Candidate Says Women Will Be Forced To Wear Veil Or "Change Creed"

There are no personal freedoms in Islam. And as far as that famous, oft-quoted verse from the Quran "there is no compulsion in religion"? Totally bogus. Sounds like something you'd hear from a critic of Islam, right? But it isn't some so-called Islamophobe that claims such things, it's Hazem Saleh Abu Ismail, an Islamist fundamentalist (with former ties to the Muslim Brotherhood) who wants to be the next president of Egypt. And he promises that if he does get the job, women will be forced to wear the hijab (Islamic veil), or "change creed". Although he didn't get into specifics about the changing creed part of the statement and what that might entail, we all know that if someone did choose to change their religion they'd be facing apostasy charges and a death sentence, as per Shariah law which he is a huge advocate of.

Ismail said regarding personal freedom in Islam, or the lack thereof :

“If you claim that Allah considers it your personal freedom, show me your reference. Nobody has ever said that - except for people who have no understanding of the Shariah.”

The Mubarak regime kept these kinds of extremists under check with good reason.  In fact, Ismail was apparently charged with "endagering national security."   But with the advent of the Arab Spring, and the rise of the Islamists, people of Ismail's ilk are now free to run for office.

Ismail sees forcing women to wear the veil as simply following Allah's commandements.

“You see, this is the difficulty; this is Islam. Does she want to be a Muslim and not obey Allah's rules? Let them say so; that’s all I ask; let them be honorable and just speak up,” he said.

Speak up? Right. The woman wouldn't have to worry about covering her head because she would have no head to cover once it was chopped off.

As for the whole "no compulsion in Islam" that so many Muslims love to quote when trying to mollify the fears of critics, Ismail had this to say"

 following the Shariah (Islamic law) is like being in the military, where a person has to follow a strict code of conduct.

He said that the Islamic saying of “no compulsion in religion” is comparable to “no compulsion in the military, meaning that if someone wants to enter the military, he can enter and if he does not want to, he does not have to enter.”

But once a person enters the military, that person has to respect its rules, the cleric said.

“If you join, then you are obliged to wear their uniform, to attend their classes, to attend the training with them and to obey their leader,” Ismail said.

So who is this man that is bucking for the top leadership position in Egypt? Ismail is a lawyer, a scholar, and a Salafist.  He wants to end the peace treaty with Israel and reestablish relations with Iran. He has also said he will ban alcohol in public, punish immodestly dressed and make-up clad women, and force the non-Muslims in country to pay a jizya (tax) for not converting to Islam. This would effect approximately 12%  of Egyptians who are Christian Copts.  Late last year,  Ismail was seen in an online video calling Osama bin Laden a martyr for  "speaking the word of truth on power," and for "going to the front lines to work in the path of Allah." He also called on Allah to help Muslims "avenge him." 

And this could be the next president of Egypt. 
Women have lashed out against Ismail, but they're going to have to do a lot more than just complain, because if he does win, they're headed for a Saudi Arabian lifestyle.  And after all their fighting for freedom, that would be such a shame.


Perdita said...

It's probably worth an addendum to say Abu Ismail has been disqualified, for having an American mother. Not the best reason but...

It's all fine and good pointing out the horrific ideas of Salafists like this, but it simply doesn't add up to 'there are no personal freedoms in Islam'. Tell that to the millions of moderate Muslims I live alongside in Egypt, who combine religious practice and personal life much in the same multifarious ways as American Christians do.

The equation of Salafism with all Islam is the road to intolerance.

Incognito said...

Hello Perdita,

Thank you, yes, I wrote a recent post about the people who were disqualified from running.

I do know there are many Muslims who are not extremists like the Islamists, that is why I am very careful to distinguish between radical Islam/Islamists/Salafists.