Following are excerpts from an interview given by Egyptian-American writer Magdi Khalil, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on January 31, 2006.
Magdi Khalil: The public is subject to the terrorism both of the Islamists and the regime. You could see in the Egyptian elections how bullies clash with bullies - the bullies of the government against the bullies of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Democracy, Mr. Faysal, consists of values and procedures. The ballot box is only one of the procedures. As for democratic values – to this day, none of the Islamic movements believe in them.
If you read the column by Khaled Mash'al in today's Guardian, you will encounter something completely different from the old Hamas discourse. They used to swear, by the sword and the Koran, to annihilate Israel. But today he wrote things that are completely different. He wrote: "We have no problem with Israel, our conflict is not a religious one." Hamas was established on the basis of the idea that the conflict is religious. There is even a Hadith that says that Judgment Day will come only when the Muslims kill the Jews, and then every tree will says: There is a Jew behind me, Oh servant of Allah, come and kill him - except for the whatchamacallit tree, which is a tree of the Jews. This Hadith is popular among Islamists, and appears in all the Islamist literature. All the Islamist literature refers to the annihilation of Israel, and to the Islamists' divine promise to fight and annihilate the Jews, and to destroy Israel.
All of a sudden, they say: No, the conflict is [not] a religious one. Khaled Mash'al wrote this in The Guardian: "The conflict between us is not religious, but political." This is what we've been saying for a long time - that the conflict is political. All of a sudden you are saying this is a political conflict?