Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian philosopher Murad Wahba, which aired on Sada Al-Balad TV on April 20, 2012:
Murad Wahba: Democracy has four components.
Interviewer: Where does Egypt stand with regard to these four components?
Murad Wahba: We're not even in the ballpark. This is not an exaggeration. There are four components: Secularism and relative thinking do not exist. They are considered heresy. As for a social covenant, the religious authorities interfere in everything. Enlightenment is forbidden – from the days of Sheik Abd Al-Razeq, through Taha Hussein, and all the way to Naguib Mahfouz.
Interviewer: And others too.
Murad Wahba: Enlightenment is thwarted all the time. They eradicate any sign of rational thinking. As for liberalism – there is no room for individualism. Everybody moves like a herd of sheep.
Today, there is a bloc of Gulf states against the Muslim Brotherhood. This is a new phenomenon.
Interviewer: What do you mean?
Murad Wahba: Some declarations have been issued on this.
Interviewer: I think that the Dubai police [chief] was very clear on that.
Murad Wahba: Right. The Gulf states, along with the Asian countries, may be able to "besiege" the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Under these circumstances, I believe that the Muslim Brotherhood ideology will face a crisis – how will they cooperate, when they are in power, with neighboring countries – the Gulf states – and with Asia, given its current relations with the Gulf states, in light of the present problems, in which the US and Europe are also involved? Today, the US and Europe are closer to the Gulf states and to Asia than they are to Egypt.
Interviewer: At present?
Murad Wahba: Yes. That's how I see things. There is a crisis. The Muslim Brotherhood is, of course, exploiting the issue of Israel, and is trying to generate threats from Sinai, in an attempt to drag the Egyptian army into starting another war with Israel. But I think that the military leadership is aware of what is happening in the Sinai, and of the goals underlying these incidents. Therefore, in my view, there will be a crisis between the leadership of the Egyptian army and the Muslim Brotherhood.
For the Egyptian military leadership, the notion of war pertains to national security: Our army's mission is to defend us against an attacking enemy, but it is not part of its mission to artificially initiate a war. For the Muslim Brotherhood, war is something one initiates, in an effort to convert the region and the entire world to Islam. Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood is ideologically required to start wars.
Interviewer: But on the tactical level, they talk about honoring the Camp David Accords, and about honoring international agreements. Moreover, there is a strange and worrying flirtation going on between the Muslim Brotherhood and the American administration regarding the implications on Israel. When John McCain, for example, was in Egypt, he received their assurance that the [Israel-Egypt] treaty would be maintained, that the QIZ treaty would be maintained, and even that they have no problem with the gas exportation [to Israel] – unless the courts decide otherwise, and it's a different story.
Murad Wahba: But let me tell you something. I always pay attention to the expressions they use when they talk about their commitment to the international agreements. They always add the qualifier: "But it's subject to change and to discussion." That is their tactic. I've noticed that they always conclude with a "but" – "we honor the international agreements, but the people will have its say." "If circumstances change, it may become necessary to reexamine [the treaty]." It is these expressions that will enable them to send the Egyptian army to initiate war against Israel in the future.
If the army returns to the military bases, and the Muslim Brotherhood takes over the state institutions, it will mean the Islamization of the country and of society. When that happens, the army, which is a state institution, will undergo Islamization willy-nilly. Under such circumstance, it will not be able to remain out of it.
If the Muslim Brotherhood takes over the presidency, it will herald the beginning of a comprehensive process of Islamization, from top to bottom.