Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian cleric Wagdi Ghoneim, which aired on the Al-Jazeera network on August 5, 2011:
Wagdi Ghoneim: I do not acknowledge all these terms: secular, liberal, whatever… On 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.