September 16, 2011
Special Dispatch No. 4140

Egyptian Cleric Wagdi Ghoneim: Democracy Is Founded on Principles of Heresy; Don't Tell Me Christians in Egypt Should Have Equal Rights

Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian cleric Wagdi Ghoneim, which aired on Al-Jazeera on August 5, 2011:


Wagdi Ghoneim: "I do not acknowledge all these terms: secular, liberal, whatever… One thing I know: A Muslim loves and exalts his religion, and he wants to be ruled by Islam, because he is a Muslim. Let's look at a simple example. Doesn't a soccer fan love his team and want it to win the league, as well as the cup, the European Cup, the World Cup, and the African Cup? I have yet to see someone who hates his own religion.

"Someone who hates his own religion is a heretic. Someone who tells you that he doesn't want Islam is a heretic. If he tells you he doesn't love Islam, he is a heretic. If he tells you that God does not rule us, he is a heretic. If he tells you that we do not need Islam today, he is a heretic."

Interviewer: "I understand from this that you are accusing the liberal and secular movements in Egypt of heresy."

Wagdi Ghoneim: "What?"

Interviewer: "Are you accusing the secular and liberal movements of heresy?"

Wagdi Ghoneim: "I'm telling you that I do not acknowledge zublublarism, secularism, or mulukhiya. All I know is that Islam rules, and a Muslim should instate the law of Allah. […]

"Look, there should be a distinction between Truth and Falsehood, between Paradise and the Hellfire, between faith and disbelief, between a Muslim and an infidel. […]

"There is no such thing as democracy. Democracy is founded on principles of heresy. The ten principles of democracy constitute utter heresy: the freedom of religion, the freedom of belief – we have a punishment for apostasy – the rule of the people by the people and not by Allah, the capital belongs to the people. […]

"In Egypt, there are 80 million citizens, only five million of whom are Crusaders – if you feel like it, you can say that there are seven million. Fine, I don't care. They are a minority. A minority in a Muslim country has a certain status. Don't say everyone is equal. Don't tell me that every citizen enjoys equal and complete rights. Says who?! How can you possibly draw a parallel between the majority and a minority?

"Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that there are 7 million of them – and by God, there are less… There are 70 million of us! So how can you talk to me about equal rights? Whenever I build a mosque, he deserves to build a church?! Says who? I've never seen a Christian pray outside his church because it's too crowded. Look how we Muslims have to pray in the streets. I swear by God that the Christians get more rights than us." […]

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