In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV, prominent Egyptian geologist and cleric Dr. Zaghloul Ragheb Al-Naggar called Egypt's ruling party "illegal and unconstitutional," and said that the Old and New Testaments were "forgeries" and that "the things the Old Testament says about the creation of Man are completely wrong."
Dr. Al-Naggar, who holds a Ph.D. in geology from Wales University, U.K., is a member of the Geological Society of London, the Geological Society of Egypt, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has lectured at universities in the West, including the University of Wales, as well as at universities in Arab countries. In 1977-78, he was a visiting lecturer at the University of California.
He is a member of the board of trustees of the Bridges Foundation, which states on its website, http://www.bridgesfoundation, that its vision is to "... train Muslims on becoming public speakers and presenters of how to present Islam as a culture and way of life to their fellow non-Muslims." He is also chairman of the Committee on Scientific Notions in the Glorious Koran and Purity Sunnah Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Cairo and a fellow of the Islamic Academy of Sciences.
According to the English section of Dr. Al-Naggar's website (www.elnaggarzr.com), the website's aim is, inter alia, to "invite non-Muslims to think of the Scientific Facts which came in The Glorious Koran and the Pure Prophetic Sunnah [one] thousand and four hundred years [ago that] science is still discovering," "to respond to the directed suspicions [of] Islam & Muslims," and "to [make] know[n] Dr. Zaghloul Al-Naggar [to] the West and informing them [of] his science & neutralism."
Following are excerpts from the Al-Jazeera interview with Dr. Al-Naggar, which aired August 9, 2008, as well as a response to his statements which aired on Al-Hayat TV on August 28, 2008.
To view this clip, go to http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/1849.
"I Absolutely Believe That The Ruling Party In Egypt Is Unconstitutional And Illegal... And Rules By Force"
Zaghloul Al-Naggar: "I absolutely believe that the ruling party in Egypt is illegal and unconstitutional. Sadat, may he rest in peace, imposed this regime on the nation by force, and [Mubarak] has inherited this regime from him.
"In general, political parties grow from the bottom to the top, not vice versa. This party is unconstitutional and illegal, and it rules by force. The ministers, under-secretaries, governors, and all the state officials were made members of this party against their will. I know members of this party who are not loyal to it in any way. I know many such people, not just one. [...]"
"I Say to the People of the Book [i.e. Christians and Jews]: The Books You Have Today Are Forgeries"
"Allah, who sent down the writings of Abraham, the Torah, the Book of Psalms, the Gospel, and the Koran, did not send down a book called the Old Testament or the New Testament. These are man-made books about the old revelation, but they do not constitute the revelation itself. It has been historically proven that the Torah of Moses was completely lost. The first five books of the Old Testament, which people today refer to as the Torah, were written more than eight centuries after the time of Moses.
"I say to the People of the Book [i.e. Christians and Jews]: The books you have today are forgeries. They have nothing whatsoever to do with the original revelation. Seek the original revelation in order to be guided to the right path. This is the best advice I can give them, because faith is not a trivial thing in the life of a human being. This faith determines the life of eternity in the world to come – whether eternal life in Paradise or in Hell. This is not trivial."
Interviewer: "It sounds as if you are accusing the other of heresy."
Zaghloul Al-Naggar: "I'm not. All I'm saying is that these religions have turned into idolatry and heresy, as has been the case throughout human history.
"If you examine human history from Adam through the Prophet Muhammad, to this day, and until Judgment Day, what you will always find is monotheism followed by polytheism, belief followed by heresy. This has been the case throughout human history.
"In the epistles of the New Testament, one of the apostles wrote a letter to his friend: 'My friend Theopolis, I went to Jerusalem, I bought two kilos of oranges, I had lunch with so-and-so, I had dinner with so-and-so, I met so-and-so, who sends his regards. What's up? Give my best to your aunt, your niece, and your sister.' Can this be called divine revelation?! This is folklore, not divine revelation. Divine revelation consists of divine injunctions and prohibitions, and does not include such things.
"The things the Old Testament says about the creation of Man are completely wrong."
Interviewer: "For example?"
Zaghloul Al-Naggar: "It says there that Allah said: 'Let us create Man in our image.' This has corrupted people's concept of God. No creature can be in the image of its Creator."
Response on Al-Hayat TV: Al-Jazeera "Has Double Standards... When Islam Was Criticized on a Live Show, [It] Apologized To Its Muslim Viewers"
Presenter: "I call upon all Christians to join the protest against Al-Jazeera TV, which has double standards with regard to religions. When Islam was criticized on a live show, Al-Jazeera issued an apology to its Muslim viewers. This apology was public, even though the criticism was on a live show. At the same time, on a recorded program, they show – with full intent – a man maligning the Holy Book. Why? Because the Christians do not lift a finger."
"Sheikh Samuel": "Dr. Zaghloul, please tell us from where you quoted what we heard on Al-Jazeera. In all 66 parts of the Holy Book, there is not a single word of what you said. Please write or go back on Al-Jazeera, and tell us where in the Holy Book there is a letter that says that they went to Jerusalem, bought a kilo of oranges, and visited your aunts, and so on. What you said is shameful." [...]
"If a Christian Said Similar Things [About Islam], The Next Day He Would Be Led to the Slaughterhouse"
"Brother Wahid": "In Egypt, there is a law with regard to equality between people, so why isn't Dr. Zaghloul placed on trial[?]..."
Interviewer: "There is the law that forbids maligning religions."
"Brother Wahid": "It is part of the penal code, so why isn't he punished? If a Christian said similar things [about Islam], the next day he would be led to the slaughterhouse."