Exclusive interview Namnam reveals his opinion on terrorism and religious parties



Sun, 06 Jan 2019 - 05:31 GMT


Sun, 06 Jan 2019 - 05:31 GMT

File: Former Minister of Culture, Helmy Namnam

File: Former Minister of Culture, Helmy Namnam

CAIRO - 6 January 2019: In an Exclusive interview to Egypt today, former Minister of Culture, Helmy El Namnam tackles different axes: renewing the religious discourse, his stance toward some religious parties, how to face extremism, the role of intellectuals and rewriting history further details comes as follows:

Who is responsible for renewing the religious discourse?

Al-Azhar is not solely responsible for renewing the religious discourse. Instead all the country’s institutions: Al-Azhar, Dar al-Ifta, Ministry of Awqaf, the Church all the religious institutions are responsible in addition to Ministries of Education, Youth and culture and government should coordinate between all these parts. The fatal obstacle that faces us is what exactly meant by renewing the religious discourse? Because a set of issues are suspended such as organ transplantation where religion cannot give a clear opinion.

There are some complaints regarding Al-Azhar’s stance towards renewing the religious discourse?

I do not agree with these complaints, Al-Azhar has already taken some procedures that assure its consent and readiness to take part in such orientation such as revising Al-Azhar Institutes’ curriculums. This is a positive step besides the participation of the Current Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb in some of the international conferences such as religions’ conference held in Abu Dhabi.

Do you agree that Al-Azhar University produces individuals with extremist mentalities?

This is a rush judgment that has nothing to do with reality. Because this means that Cairo University has terrorist and extremist graduates, as Mohamed Morsi (former president) and Mohamed Badie (current supreme guide of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood) have both graduated from it. We will consider Ain Shams University a terrorist one because Saleh Sirriyya (late extremist Palestinian) has graduated from it. Hence we have to set it clear if a terrorist is graduated from a certain university, this does not mean that the whole university is a terrorist entity.

How you can estimate Brotherhood group?

Brotherhood group is the source of terrorism, extremism and every evil act; because all the devilish acts among ultra conservative groups are derived from the opinions of Hassan al-Banna (founder of Muslim Brotherhood) and Sayyid Qutb (extremist Muslim preacher). Such characters are semi-gods to all Brotherhood members.

Do you think Brotherhood thoughts are falling back?

June 30 revolution was a declaration that all the Egyptians reject these radical thoughts where Brotherhood group was completely failed to spread its devil seeds. Their existence was eradicated from its roots. The Egyptian Law enlisted them as a terrorist banned organization that will never be a part of Egypt.

How do you explain the joining of some Brotherhood members to ISIS?

ISIS or Al-Qaeda or Takfir or whatsoever are just different titles for the same entity “Brotherhood”.

Institution forbids all parties based upon religious content yet there are some authorized parties such Al-Nour party; how you can explain this?

All these parties should be shut down because they are invalid as per to some articles in the constitution.

You came to office as a minister of culture in a chronic period of time; what were the issues you faced during your reign?

The most significant issue was to enlarge the concept of culture from so limited category to enroll all social categories. Thus I executed “Justice and Culture” project in Esna to convey a message that culture is not confined to the elite people only.

Do you think the financial support for the ministry is not enough?

Budget is divided into two parts: one related to salaries and individual rights and the other part related to different cultural activities which are so limited.

Gaber Asfour said in a former interview that the individual share of culture support is one pound, is this right?

The budget of the ministry is less than 48 million which is a little sum of money insufficient to conduct different activities of almost 600 sites. I asked to increase the budget but the Parliament refused.

Egypt has more than 100 parties, what do you think of this fact?

Regardless the number of parties, the role of these parties is so limited and marginalized. Only few parties are effective in the political arena.

Unfortunately we lack the leading character for instance, Wafd Party was based upon Saad Zaghloul, after his death the party fell apart and the National Democratic Party was based upon Mostafa El-Nahas, after his death the party split down and this is the issue.

Why you ask to rewrite history?

Some treatises are written and widely spread yet they lack authenticity. In some cases history is written according to the point of view of certain parts.

Some call for the abolishing of religion subject in schools, do you agree?

Throughout the last decade, students studied the religion subject without any problems; because its content was useful, it was full of ethics and morals. It called for peace, serenity and love. Hence it has to do with the content of the subject.

How you can estimate the achievement Saudi Arabia makes under the Patronage of the crown prince Bin Salman?

Saudi Arabia is radically changing; it is making vast reforms and developments on all fronts. Its role reflects positively on Egypt. We have to imitate them.



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