Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian cleric and presidential candidate Hazem Abu Ismail, which aired on CBC TV on September 12, 2011.
"Nobody Wants a Woman to go About Topless, In Full View of Everybody Everywhere..."
Hazem Abu Ismail: "We are talking about a 'civil state' in three senses: The people elect the ruler, the people hold the ruler accountable, and the people depose the ruler if he loses his legitimacy." [...]
Interviewer: "Should we shut down the beaches, or what?"
Hazem Abu Ismail: "The answer is completely obvious: We will not shut down the beaches, but we shall not permit disgraceful nudity, which currently exists on Egyptian beaches, except in two cases: Either we have [separate] beaches for Egyptians, or Arabs, or Muslims, and I have therefore proposed..."
Interviewer: "You propose separation: beaches for foreigners and beaches for the locals."
Hazem Abu Ismail: "For example. [...]
"The bottom line is that I will not do something that is forbidden, even if I stand to profit from it. Let me be clear about this. I cannot turn against Allah. The Egyptian people do not want this, and neither do I. Nobody wants this.
"Nobody wants a woman to go about topless, in full view of everybody everywhere... It's inconceivable."
Interviewer: "But I don't think that happens in Egypt."
Hazem Abu Ismail: "It does."
Interviewer: "There are no nudist beaches in Egypt."
Hazem Abu Ismail: "Bring me a camera tomorrow, and come with me, and we'll go take pictures, and I challenge you to air this..."
Interviewer: "There are no nudist beaches in Egypt."
Hazem Abu Ismail: "My proposal will settle this. We can take a camera from the TV station..."
Interviewer: "We can take a camera, but I've never seen a nudist beach in Egypt..."
Hazem Abu Ismail: "Anyone who's been to Sharm Al-Sheik, to Hurghada, and other villages whose names I don't want to mention knows what goes on there.
"At the end of the day, when I believe in Allah, I cannot say to Him: Lord, in order to make money, I allow my daughter, my son, my brother, my sister, or my wife to see these disgraceful sights." [...]
Interviewer: "Will you obligate the woman to wear the hijab?"
Hazem Abu Ismail: "Allah obligates her to wear it."
Interviewer: "Of course, I'm not disputing this, but..."
Hazem Abu Ismail: "Look, I am just like you and our distinguished brothers here – I am one of the people, and when I become president of this country, I will remain one of the people. Therefore, I am not telling the people things that I invented myself. I say only things that Allah says." [...]
"I Am Opposed to Camp David, Opposed to the Peace Agreement, Opposed to Exporting Gas [to Israel]..."
"I am an enemy of the Camp David Accord and the peace agreement. I am telling you this as a politician, but the moment I change from being a politician to being a statesman who runs the country, I must also move... I do not intend to implement my political desires. I intend to prepare the country to make the decision. Therefore, I am opposed to Camp David, opposed to the peace agreement, opposed to exporting gas [to Israel], opposed to...
"It's not just me, it's all the Egyptians. Nobody wants Israel to get anything. We built the [security] wall for them with Egyptian cement, we have worked with them on strange issues, the gas, and so on.
"I am against these things, but if I want to make the decision [to change this], it is inconceivable for me to place my treasure in a house with broken windows and a door that has been ripped out. I must furnish it with an iron door, and I must defend my country very well. [...]
"I do not intend to wage war. Believe me that in my four years – or maybe eight years – war, or even an economic confrontation, is very unlikely. I will not fight them, and I will be the best person for the U.S. and Israel. What do you think of this terrible statement?
"How come? Because I am a disciple of the Prophet Muhammad. He did not make any decision until he examined the issue carefully. So I am looking for the strengths of my country, and not for imported strengths. [...]
"If they don't want the jizya poll tax – fine. But I would like jizya tax for myself. Take somebody like Muhammad Ali Clay, the international boxer. America took him. They said to him: Come on, we are going to wage war in Vietnam, and you are the right age for enlistment. Come and fight. He said: I won't go to fight. It is against my religion. They threw him into prison, and demanded tens of thousands of dollars for his release. If only they had said: since your religion prohibits you from fighting these people, you don't have to. This would have been just.
"Moreover, the great America, the great Britain, and the great France took the Muslims and said to them: Go fight the Muslims in Iraq, go fight the Muslims in Afghanistan. [...]
"The jizya demonstrates the honor of Islam..."
Interviewer: "Isn't it considered a tax?"
Hazem Abu Ismail: "No, it's not. Do you know how much the jizya amounts to in a year? It doesn't reach even 10 Egyptian pounds a year. If a Muslim makes an effort and pays 2.5% charity, and pays 12 pounds in return for not going..."
Interviewer: "That's not a tax? He's not paying taxes?"
Hazem Abu Ismail: "We also pay taxes. The Muslim and the Christian... But I will not impose the jizya..."
Interviewer: "You won't do that?"
Hazem Abu Ismail: "I'm getting into trouble with my answer... Let me tell you why – out of my zealousness for my religion. The jizya originates in the Koran, and it is very shameful for us to say... It is shameful. It is the word of Allah, because it is in the Koran. Out of zealousness for Islam, the jizya is intended to prevent the spilling of blood of non-Muslims, rather than forcing them to enter the battle." [...]