Islamic tragedy: The malaise of the 'project' from Egypt to Turkey

Mofreh Sarhan, Monday 21 Mar 2016

The book focuses on the weaknesses and lapses in political Islam, whose advocates elected the Muslim Brotherhood

Author Mohamed Hussein Abul Ela has plunged into the ongoing battle between dialogue on the one hand and the language of terrorism, intimidation, and repression on the other. He sides with the former, defending it against the latter, which is based on “the philosophy of religion and blood."

Starting with Religious Violence in Egypt to his latest book Islamic Tragedy published in English by the US-based Xlibris, Abul Ela continues to explore the contradictions and double standards of political Islam. In his new book, the author asserts that “this tragedy is neither Islamic nor religious, but a unique pattern of political monstrosity, a passing lie that is forgettable and a momentary deception that is quickly wiped out by time."

Islamic Tragedy focuses on the weaknesses and lapses in political Islam whose advocates elected the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011-2012 to power as and were the best organised and numbered political force in the country after the uprising that toppled Mubarak. 

However, Abul Ela discovered that the major lapse in this “tragedy” is that “in essence it does not carry great wisdom or pioneer ideas or sophisticated meaning that can transform or change…The 'tragedy' also lacked bias, eroded creativity, contradicted social norms, and embodied the dialectic of religion and blood, embedding in the mind that blood has a sweet scent that cleanses societies at times of crisis and battles over power."

Tragedy refers to the MB practices that hastened the destruction of the dream and fuelled the anger of the masses, deepening the gap between integration and national cohesion for the rogue faction and the land that is defined by history and geography. The MB achieved ascribed dictatorship in its single year in power, physical and ideological terrorism, and failed “to represent true religion and avoided dialogue with a storm of baseless arguments.”

One chapter in Islamic Tragedy answers the question: How did Egypt’s revolutionary impetus produce MB rule, aiming to create a theocracy? The traditional answer is that the fundamentals of democracy allow the freedom of choice but cannot guarantee its implementation. The author also discusses at length the alarming political Islam rhetoric which Abul Ela describes as having a “dogmatic ideological nature that is trapped in its environment and terrain, and contradicts the true nature of Islam.”

Abul Ela then discusses the future predicament in which the MB deteriorated, linking this to a “political instrument” that did, does, and will continue to express the ideology and historic dream, and the means that justified and continue to justify the actions of the MB. This is the legitimacy instrument that the author criticises the MB for using, "while abandoning the notion of Egyptian nationalism which is absent in MB literature."

In another drama, the author deals with “the malaise of the Islamic project” in Turkey and Egypt, the problems of this project, absence of enlightened traits, failure to close the gap among various forces and currents within society, and further failure to find a balance for the historic equation between Islam and reality. All this produced dangerous junctures during MB rule in Egypt and their counterparts in Turkey.

Islamic Tragedy reveals secrets about the relationship between the MB and the West, and its inherent “strategic folly” and betrayal of “Arab nationalism and, before that, the smaller homeland, Egypt."

Abul Ela concludes Tragedy with the calamity of the US imminently turning its back on its MB ally when the map changes and the ship safely docks, despite enemies who are in clear view and others onboard who want to sink the ship.

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