Leading Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Issa recently stated the case against the Islamic Caliphate. "If you say that the Caliphate was the model of excellence... you are insisting upon a stupid, nonsensical, and meaningless lie," said Issa on his Nugum FM radio show. The video was posted on the Internet on February 3. Issa, who moderates a daily talk show on the Egyptian ON TV and has edited several leading Egyptian newspapers, was a harsh critic of Mubarak. In 2007, he received a prison sentence, but was later pardoned by Mubarak.
Following are excerpts:
Ibrahim Issa: The religious notion of which we have been hearing more than anything, and in which we have believed all these years, is the story about the Caliphate. People long for the Caliphate, dream of the Caliphate, and reminisce about the days when we ruled the world... So what if we ruled the world?! So did Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Persians, and Hitler.
What world are you talking about, for God's sake?! Is this about bullying the world or about ruling it through civilization? You hear people say: 'The Muslims are always divided. When will the day come when they are united and the Caliphate is restored?' The preacher in the mosque is fooling you when he says this. The teacher at school is fooling you when he says this. When someone tries to recruit you to a [terrorist] organization, this is what he tells you. The Salafis at the mosque try to convince you that Islam is all about wearing a short robe and a long beard, and about shaving your moustache and reviving the Caliphate. They are constantly talking about the Caliphate.
What is the difference between Al-Azhar and ISIS? ISIS wants the Caliphate right now, while Al-Azhar thinks that the time is not ripe. Let me tell you, people, the Caliphate can go to Hell! All this cultural degeneration and decay has been brought upon our lives by the Caliphate. The Caliphate is not one of the pillars of Islam. Only the Shiites believe that the Caliphate is part of Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood and the terrorists follow this notion, which has nothing to do with [Sunni] Islam.
What Caliphate are you blabbering about?! Egypt was under [British] occupation for 74 years in the days of the Ottoman Caliphate. Algeria was under occupation for 150 years in the days of that Caliphate. When the Mongols wreaked havoc upon the Islamic nation and civilization, when they took over Baghdad - and the Tigris River was filled with blood and with books from the Baghdad library - and when [terrible] things happened in Syria... Wasn't there a Caliphate at the time?
Okay, never mind that. Let's go really really far back in history to the 200-year Crusader occupation of Palestine and Jerusalem. Jerusalem was occupied for 200 years when the Caliphate was around - the Abbasid caliphate, the Mamluk caliphate, and Ayyubid caliphate. It lasted 200 years. True, Saladin regained Jerusalem, but it was occupied again a mere 40 years later. So don't get over-excited... There is a sequel to the Saladin movie that you haven't watched, because nobody ever cared to produce it...
If you are trying to say that the Caliphate is the symbol of excellence, and that it is what gave rise to the great civilization of the Muslims - you are lying to yourself, insisting upon a stupid, nonsensical, and meaningless lie. They repeat that story so many times that you begin to think it is true. But I am telling you that Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, and Sudan, as well as the Levant, which consisted of Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, were all under occupation for hundreds of years, during the age that you falsely portray as the glorious era of the Muslims. Glorious era, my ass! The rulers were all tyrants. True, there were some enlightened moments and magnificent victories, but this great civilization was built not by the rulers, but by the scholars, who, incidentally, were persecuted by these rulers.
Behind all that glory were the regular Muslim citizens - the merchants who went to Africa, traded with Venice, and so on - and not the rulers. The states of these rulers collapsed. We could talk about all the rulers who fought and killed their own brothers for the throne. You are seriously deluding yourselves about the Caliphate.
Stop believing what the preachers at the mosques tell you every Friday, because they are too ignorant to tell you the truth, and perhaps you are too smart to expect to hear the truth from them."