FILE: Tharwat el-Kherbawy, a dissident Muslim Brotherhood leader
CAIRO – 26 November 2018: Tharwat el-Kherbawy, a dissident Muslim Brotherhood leader, is one of the few leaders who sought to unravel the secrets of the Muslim Brotherhood; consequently, he has suffered many attacks and slanderous accusations.
In anexclusive interview with Egypt Today, Kherbawy answers many questions about the Muslim Brotherhood, that is believed to be behind some terror attacks in the country, although the group is no longera partofthe current political scene.
Many Muslim Brotherhood members abroad have adopted atheism and other sinful thoughts, according to some reports; what do you think about that?
The Muslim Brotherhood is currently witnessing an unfamiliar state of moral turbulence.
Once the group members knew the truth, and discovered that their leaders were behind what happened in Rabaa square, many standards of what these young Muslim Brotherhood members had believed in collapsed, making it is easier for them to be driven to atheism.
It was revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood leaders did not mind to accept many things the young members thought the group rejected. It was normal after all these changes for the group's young members to adopt atheism, or violence and terrorism, and to join the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda.
Some of the Egyptian employees in the Muslim Brotherhood media channels abroad say they want to return to their homeland; how will you comment on that?
It became clear to the Muslim Brotherhood's youth that their leaders were using such channels only for their interests. The Qatari funding to these channels only reach certain persons and leaders, while the Muslim Brotherhood youth abroad found that they are unable to live; they have been caught in a trap that they do not know how to get out of.
Those who were handed sentences in absentia by the Egyptian judiciary will not seek to return to Egypt and do not want to leave Turkey, as Qatar sends them monthly salaries.
On the other hand, members in Turkey who have not been charged with any crimes want to return to Egypt. Some of them realized that the Muslim Brotherhood's ruling of the state was a big mistake.In case they want to return,they need to rehabilitated;also psychiatrists, scientists and thinkers have to make sure that each of them has become a real citizen who has feelings of belonging to Egypt.
In fact, most of them want to return because life has become hard for them.If they come back,they will play a very bad role in Egypt.
What about the current disputes inside the Muslim Brotherhood entity?
There are numerous splits and problems and very big disputes inside the Muslim Brotherhood,the strongest since the dispute that took place after Hassan al-Banna's murder concerning his successor. The current dispute is the biggest across the history of the group.Such disputes led to the formation of many Brotherhood groups, not only one group.
I think that over 80 groups left the Muslim Brotherhood group. Some of the group members decided to completely isolate themselves from working with the group, some joined the IS, while others formed terrorist groups that use violence against state institutions.
Do you think that continuing the Arab boycott to Qatar can force the latter to stop funding the Muslim Brotherhood?
No, not at all, because Qatar's role in funding the Muslim Brotherhood is not related to the boycott.The money Qatar pays goes through certain channels so it can reach the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey,and the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in London or America.
This is done through some companies. Financing sometimes does not come directly from the Qatari central bank; it can come instead from Qatari transnational companies located in Qatar or other countries including Germany, England or America. These are big companies which play a big role in this financing.
What about the efforts of the international community to combat terrorism; can it stop Qatar from financing terrorism?
No. Qatar is just following the instructions of Britain and America. Qatar is controlled by the British intelligence, and the US political administration. The international community will not besiege terrorism and will not play a role in confronting it because it benefits from its existence. America will not take any action against Qatar, as the U.S.directs Qatar to its own policy.
How do you see the future of the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey in light of the crisis Erdogan's regime is facing?
The Muslim Brotherhood always damages the place where they exist. We saw what happened in Egypt, and we still suffer from its consequences until now, and in Qatar, where they also exist, the Arab boycott has been imposed,while in Turkey, an economic crisis has occurred.
In my opinion, Erdogan's regime will not last more than two years. Erdogan and his party will subsequently end, and thus the Brotherhood will be strangers, especially as there are signs that the Turkish authorities hate the existence of the Brotherhood in their country.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi recently called on Al-Azhar to correct wrong interpretations of the Islamic texts; how do you think such misinterpretations can be corrected?
The young people of Al-Azhar were raised on ideas that oppose enlightened ideas, and therefore, they cannot give what they do not have; they do not have the ability to innovate.
It is known that the religious reform movements in the world throughout history, even in the time of the prophets, did not come from within the religious circle prevailing in societies at the time; it always came from outside this circle, and of course carried a different vision.
Sisi also said that the image of Muslims in the West has become distorted to a great extent; what do you think about that?
We are indeed distorting the image of Islam in the whole world, as we turned Islam from the religion of mercy, affection and guidance to a religion that calls for war, fighting and sword, while this second form is not the true Islam. There must be a great enlightenment movement from great thinkers to correct this false image of Islam before the whole world. We already have the National Council to Combat Terrorism and Extremism, but it did not do anything.
Does the Salafi ideology have something to do with distorting the image of Islam?
Yes, it is one of the biggest reasons behind such phenomenon. The Salafi movement believes in ideas that rational people can never believe in. There are people speaking in a way that can be thought as Islamic, although even animals refuse to believe in what they are saying.Watching a follower of such movement coming out to say that girls can be fit for marriage while they are still in their mothers' wombs, and that their fathers can make a marriage contract for them, these are things that are inconsistent with the human instinct.
The Salafist Al-Nour (light) Party, I call it the "darkness party." It should have been closed a long time ago.
Additional reporting by Amr Mohamed Kandil