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Aug 20, 2015
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Egyptian Author Sayyid Al-Qemany: Using One's Mind Has Become a Crime; Any Free Thought Has Become Heresy

#5072 | 08:26
Source: Online Platforms

In an in-depth interview, Egyptian author Sayyid Al-Qemany said that Egypt was "in the garbage bin of nations" because of the stagnation of its mentality. "Our people is controlled by a Wahhabi mentality, Al-Qemany said, adding that a Wahhabi is "a criminal with a divine license." "Using one's mind has become a crime," he told the interviewer. "We need to reform our mentality regarding religion and everything else." The interview was posted on the Internet on August 20, 2015.

Following are excerpts:

Sayyid Al-Qemany: We will suffer from the consequences of the 1967 war.

Interviewer: Are you suffering to the sense of defeat, or to the arrogance and our feeling that we are something special…

Sayyid Al-Qemany: I'm talking about our defeat and about realizing that we are worthless, that we are the dregs of the Earth's nations. I was still a student when I said that we were in the garbage bin of nations. We are in the garbage bin of nations, and we don't even know it. We feel as if we are like the Pharaohs, like Ramesses, and so on.


No matter what you do, as long as your mentality, your way of thinking, remains static, in one place, without going anywhere… Abd Al-Nasser is gone, and along comes Sadat, Sadat is gone, and along comes [actress] Layla Mourad… The result is one and the same.


Interviewer: We are always talking about colonialism. You say that colonialism and benefits…

Sayyid Al-Qemany: Great benefits! Now look, son. If we held a bid, looking for someone to colonize us, nobody would come. If I asked Great Britain to come and colonize us again, they wouldn't come. We are a liability.

[If they had come], they would have fixed everything. Our railroad was the greatest railroad in the world. The train was the most magnificent and the most punctual. It was the pride of Egypt. Who built it? The British. We did the actual work, but if the British hadn't been there, we wouldn't have done that either. If European civilization had not come to America, the Indians would still be lighting fire with stones. Why are we so upset if someone civilized comes and occupies us? They are more capable than we are. We are told that colonialism is the reason for our backwardness. That is not true.


When the [Arab Spring] events took place in Tunisia, I was asked whether I expected this to happen in Egypt. I said that I hoped it would not. I said that our people is controlled by a Wahhabi mentality. The entire people is Wahhabi. What is a Wahhabi? A criminal with a license, a divine license. Our Lord gives him a license to be a criminal.


Unfortunately, our culture is built upon lies, and our history is a fabrication. This has ruined our memory. A colleague said to me that the Muslim Brotherhood should rise to power, so that people would feel what it was like, and would then chuck them forever. I asked him: Haven't we been trying them for 1,400 years? He said: The people has no memory, because what students learn as school is not the truth.

They are told about the glory of the caliphate and the greatness of the Islamic nation… The focus is on the nation and on its greatness, at the expense of the citizen. That's one problem. The nation is great, and Islam is great, and it does not matter who gets chopped to pieces underneath. It does not matter if the citizen gets chopped to pieces, if he gets burned, if his property is taken from him, if he suffers injustice, or if he is killed for no reason. The caliph would wake up one morning in a good mood, and would give a sack of gold to the first person he would meet. When he would get up on a bad day, he would give the order for his tailor to be killed.


Interviewer: Has the use of one's mind become a crime in our society?

Sayyid Al-Qemany: Of course. That's the problem. Sheikh Muhammad Hassan said: "You have our Lord's religion, so you should step on your mind with your shoes." Would you use your brain if he tells you that the Lord does not want you to think? He tells you that it's in the Lord's book and that you should beware not to think! If you have any question, ask Allah! If you need help, seek it with Allah! But how? Allah answers the prayer of the oppressed. He hangs it I don't know where – somewhere in the heavens – and responds to these prayers "even if after a while."

Well, if You are our Lord, and You have the ability to help me, why don't You help me now?! Why "after a while"?! Aren't You capable of helping the oppressed? Aren't you God? So help me now. Why "after a while"? Are You waiting for me to get things better all by myself, and I'll say "thank you"?

There are very basic questions, but these people have decided not to use their minds. So they have erased Egyptian consciousness altogether. They have erased everything related to the country in the Egyptian mind. Consequently, any kind of thought has become heresy.


[Al-Sisi] came from the armed forces and saved Egypt, so I salute and thank him. Is there anything greater than saving the country? That's the only thing I care about, so I say: Thank you, leader. But there is much to say about what followed. I have many objections and concerns in this regard.


Sayyid Al-Qemany: I don't understand his position about the Salafis.

Interviewer: He was talking to a group of workers…

Sayyid Al-Qemany: The first moment of sadness occurred on July 3, when he made his speech. I saw that the people sitting there all had long beards – the Salafis, the church, and Al-Azhar… Oh man… I was looking for an Egyptian Ataturk. Weeks before, I said that we needed an Egyptian Ataturk. Only an Egyptian Ataturk could set this country straight. I was hoping that Al-Sisi would become an Ataturk. But this did not happen. He has a different charisma, a different mentality. Al-Sisi is a kind, quiet, good, modest man…

Interviewer: Did you hear what he said [about renewal of religious discourse]?

Sayyid Al-Qemany: I did, and I thought it was nothing but talk, I'm sad to say. [Reforming religious discourse] is not something you instruct to do. Reforming of mentality… This is not about reform of religious discourse. We need to reform our mentality regarding religion and everything else.


You cannot just reform religious discourse. You cannot tell the virus to kill itself. You cannot ask Al-Azhar to do it. Al-Azhar is at the heart of the problem.


Instead of begging Saudi Arabia and the Gulf for alms, we should change the second article of the Egyptian constitution, and state that the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are the main source for legislation in the Egyptian Republic. You will see how the world reacts then.


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