Egyptian philosopher Mourad Wahba expressed his views on the dangers inherent in religious fundamentalism in two TV interviews that aired on August 8. Speaking on Egypt's Channel 1 TV channel, he said that the Arab culture was "backward" and that Egyptian mentality needed to be "liberated" from the religious fundamentalism present both in Islam and in Christianity. In a Mehwar TV interview, Wahba said that he had warned of the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism back in the 1980s, when he foresaw that it would play a role in the destruction of the Soviet Union and later of the U.S. "There is inadequate awareness in the U.S. of the dangers inherent in fundamentalism," he said.
Channel 1 (Egypt)
Mourad Wahba: Our culture is backward.
Mourad Wahba: I am generalizing. Our culture is backward. and tries to distance itself from the West, purporting to have some sort of exceptionalism, a special identity. This exceptionalism...
Interviewer: But this is meaningless.
Mourad Wahba: Of course. What kind of exceptionalism can there be, when the whole of civilization is developing?
In order to determine to what extent a civilization is advanced or backward, I examine its place on the spectrum between mythological and rational thought. If a civilization is closer to rational thinking, I consider it to be progressive, and when a civilization is far from modern progress, I call it backward. I have reached the conclusion that our culture is backward.
The mission of any intellectual today is to cause a cultural revolution in order to bring about change. For another thing, the dominant school of thought is the religious fundamentalist school of thought - both in the Islamic and the Christian worlds. Here, in Egypt, Christian and Islamic fundamentalism control the Egyptian mind. The question is how to liberate the Egyptian mind from religious fundamentalism.
You need revolutionary intellectuals to deal with this problem. There is a saying often repeated by President Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi. It sounds like a simple notion, but it requires a revolution. He says: "There is no such thing as a Muslim Egyptian or a Christian Egyptian. There are only Egyptians, and we are all Egyptians."
Interviewer: That is the notion of citizenship.
Mourad Wahba: How can we all be Egyptian, without mention of...
Mourad Wahba: ...when our religion appears in our identity cards?
Mehwar TV (Egypt)
In 1986, or rather, before 1988, the American philosopher John Somerville told me that he would like us to organize an international conference together, and invite Soviet and American philosophers to attend, because the world was under threat of a nuclear war. I liked the idea, and we organized a conference in St. Louis, in the US. At the conference, I told the philosophers that I expected religious fundamentalism, especially Islamic fundamentalism, to play a role in the destruction of the Soviet Union, and after that, to play a role in the destruction of America. That, in my opinion, would free up planet Earth for an Islamic Caliphate. That was the view I expressed in St. Louis in 1986, with the Soviet and American philosophers. They told me that I was a pessimist, and that it couldn't happen. Then, in 1991, the Communist bloc fell, and in 2001, America began to fall with the destruction of...
Interviewer: The World Trade Center...
Mourad Wahba: That's right. To this day - and you can see this for yourself - America is undergoing an internal struggle, and it will continue to face difficulties, because it does not understand the violence of religious fundamentalism. In the days of Obama... I've written an article about Obama, titled: "A Fundamentalist in the White House," in which I consider Obama to be a fundamentalist, who has six advisors from the Muslim Brotherhood. Now that the US has awoken, you can see the internal struggles raging within it, along with the suicide-bombers. All this is because there is inadequate awareness in the US of the dangers inherent in fundamentalism.