Content

3 Salafi Political Participation and the "Islamic Project" (Quinta Smit) in:

Cornelis Hulsman (Ed.)

From Ruling to Opposition, page 73 - 112

Islamist Movements and Non-Islamist Groups in Egypt 2011-2013

1. Edition 2017, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-3837-6, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-6739-0, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783828867390-73

Series: Anwendungsorientierte Religionswissenschaft, vol. 9

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
3 Salafi Political Participation and the "Islamic Project" (Quinta Smit) 3.1 Introduction The January 25 Revolution demonstrated a unity of Egyptians that remains largely unprecedented in contemporary Egyptian history. In addition, the revolution witnessed the remarkable rise of political Salafism. Before Janu ary 2011, Egypt's Salafis were a politically marginalized group, primarily concerned with teaching and spreading the word of God. After the January 25 Revolution, a previously unsurpassable political barrier dissolved and created an opportunity for Salafis to become politically active. Since then, Egypt has witnessed the emergence of various parties and movements that identify themselves as Salafi. This chapter provides aframeworkfor the dif ferent Salafi parties and movements that are currently active in Egypt's po litical scene. It analyzes their role in the political arena and suggests that the future stability of Salafi political parties is not at all certain. Moreover, it concludes that Salafi parties are likely to continuously face challenges that may impede the successful materialization of the Salafi goal, namely the creation of an Islamic state governed by Shari 'a, also referred to as the "Is lamic Project." The analysis provided in this chapter is based on discussions with -and opinions of - Salafi political participants, as well as few non-participative Salafis and scholars of political Islam. The chapter begins by discussing the working definitions of Salafism and Islamism. The intention here is to provide an analysis of the current political situation in Egypt based on how those Salafis active in the political scene view themselves, their position, and their future role in the political arena of Egypt. It is important to distinguish between the broader understanding of Salafism and the political Salafism that came out of the Revolution. To clarify this difference, a brief historical overview of Salafism in Egypt will be provided in order to describe the background from which certain Salafis entered the political arena. This is necessary to contextualize and to facilitate comprehension of their aims and ambitions for participating in politics. The bulk of this chapter is devoted to two main arguments used to support the claim that the future stability of Salafi political parties is uncertain, thereby challenging the successful implementation of the "Islamic Project." The first argument sets out the struggle between what can be called religious Salafism and political Salafism. The difficulty of balancing the need to preserve a religiously-conservative identity while simultaneously finding ways to be politically pragmatic presents a struggle that cannot be easily 73 overcome and hence challenges the future stability of Salafi political parties. This section is broken up into four subsections in order to demonstrate when and how this struggle has taken shape. The first subsection explains how, in having become politically active, political Salafis are dividing the Salafi masses more than uniting them. The second subsection presents the dilemma faced by Salafi parties in deciding on the political role of the shaykhs; they are important for mobilizing support, but they generally know very little about economics and politics. The third subsection discusses the implications of the Tamarrud (rebellion) campaign of June 30, 2013 - the massive popular uprising against former president Muhammad Mursi, and the different ways in which parties have responded to this event. Finally, the last subsection scrutinizes the "Islamic Project" and the challenge Salafi parties face in trying to create an Islamic state ruled by Shari 'a while simultaneously taking on a more political role, a process that requires them to make concessions and negotiations. The second main argument suggests that the success of long-term Salafi po litical participation faces many challenges because the parties are a product of the January 25 Revolution. This section discusses the possible implica tions of having a support base that consists largely of revolutionaries. Moreover, it suggests that the majority of Salafi political parties appear to have a revolutionary mindset, in addition to a religious one, instead of a political mindset. Unless this mentality is partially amended, Salafi parties are likely to face difficulties in sustaining a stable position in the political arena. In conclusion, based on the research conducted it appears as though the parties most likely to survive in the future are those with a mother organi zation - the religious movement from which the political party hails and that teaches and spreads the word of God. Of these, al-Nür Party, the politi cal arm of al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya (the Salafi Call) and currently the biggest Salafi party in the political arena, appears to be the most resilient to the many struggles and challenges facing Salafi parties. Nevertheless, even par ties with a mother organization will constantly need to address and redefine the balance between political Salafism and religious Salafism. This will prove challenging because the very concept of politics stands in stark contrast with the religious purity Salafis believe they should uphold. Before diving into the rest of the chapter, some of the challenges and limitations of this study should be addressed. The still somewhat reserved nature of Salafism and general skepticism towards Western researchers has sometimes made it difficult to get in touch with key figures, in particular influential shaykhs such as Yäsir Burhämi, Häzim Saläh Abü Ismä il, Muhammad ‘ Abd al- Maqsüd, and Muhammad Isma il al-Muqaddim. Muqaddim is a 74 unique case and explained that he did not want to be involved in politics and was therefore unwilling to be interviewed for this chapter because its focus lays solely on Salafi political participation.239 The general skepticism towards Western researchers and the difficulty of getting in touch with key figures, have occasionally made it difficult to judge the verity of certain statements made by those interviewed. Nevertheless, this analysis is a result of careful consideration and numerous interviews with figures of diverging hierarchical statuses, positions, and backgrounds. It thereby hopes to overcome some of the challenges met on the way and provide a comprehensive analysis. Important to bear in mind is that the Salafi opinion expressed in this chapter is that of the political Salafis and does not necessarily represent the Salafi opinion in general. As this chapter is a study of political Salafis, the author mainly targeted those Salafis active on the political scene. 3.2 Defining Concepts The term Salafism has a somewhat negative connotation in Western media and the intention here is to break away from the negative stereotyping to which the terms Salafi and Islamist often give rise. Among a signi-ficant portion of the Western public, the word Salafi raises images of a bearded man who is convinced that Shari 'a must be implemented. In this context, Shari'a is often understood as (capital) punishment and submission of women, instead of the all-encompassing way of life, which it actually entails. These definitions are thereby not only inaccurate, but also insufficient. Understanding a Salafi as someone who wants to apply Shari 'a does not sufficiently distinguish between Salafis and the Muslim Brothers or even jihädi Salafis in Sinai, all of whom may be equally keen to see the implementation of Shari'a. 3.2.1 Salafism The aim here is to offer an understanding of Salafism in general, before expanding further on the concept of political Salafism. The term Salafi is extremely broad, which is precisely the reason it is easily misinterpreted. There are many sub-streams within Salafism, some of which have manifested themselves as more extreme and radical movements willing to use violent measures in order to reach their goals. Jayson Casper discusses these groups in chapter five. During an interview held on April 18, 2013 with Muhammad Saläh, a politically non -active shaykh and well-known This was explained by shaykh Muhammad Isma‘il al-Muqaddim in phone call with Cornelis Hulsman, Cairo, Egypt, December 3,2012. This sets al-Muqaddim apart from the other shaykhs. 75 presenter on the Islamic channel, Huda TV, Saläh explains that Salafi also refers to individuals of a more quietist nature, meaning those Salafis who concern themselves with peaceful preaching, spreading the word of God and encouraging people to always refer to the Islamic sources: the Qur 'än and the correct Hadiths240- a collection of sayings that are attributed to Prophet Muhammad and witnessed by his companions and the Caliphs who followed him.241 Salafi literally means "follower of devout ancestors," so in the broadest meaning of the word any Muslim can be called a Salafi. In a more limited scope however, Salafi refers to an individual who believes he or she should narrowly follow the example set out by Prophet Muhammad. According to Bassäm al-Zarqä, leading member of al-Nür Party, "the meaning of Salafism is one of transparency. [...] Salafism is the fundamental principles that Prophet Muhammad said and gave to his close friends, which they passed on until it reached us."242 It is believed that the first few generations immediately following Prophet Muhammad were most informed of how the Prophet lived and it is their example that Salafis aim to follow. A Salafi thus believes in the need to return to the Islamic faith, as it existed at the time of the Prophet and the first generations of followers.243 Nädiya Mustafä, an expert on political Islam and International Relations, says Salafis are called fundamentalists because they believe the doctrine should be solidified in a strict way.244 In turn, Muhammad Saläh understands Salafism as a move ment that was initiated "to put people back on the track of monotheism."245 All Salafis believe in the unity of all Muslims, sometimes referred to as the umma. Additionally, Salafis believe in the creation of an Islamic empire governed by Shari 'a in order to unite all Muslims. Although quietist Salafis be lieve in the implementation of Shari 'a, they maintain that society must be prepared first.246 This means that Salafis are concerned with reforming the individual in order to create a society that accepts Shari 'a. In other words, they believe a bottom-up approach will lead to the gradual implementation of Shari 'a and thereby ultimately to the creation of an Islamic empire. This is what sets the quietest Salafis apart from the jihädi-Salafis, who maintain 240 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 241 Akyol 2011,100. 242 Smit 2013 (a). 243 Brown 2011, 3. 244 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Mascarenhas-Keyes 2013. 245 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (f). 246 Brown 2011, 4. 76 that the gradual implementation of Shan 'a is a betrayal of Islam,247 and even from the Muslim Brothers, who want to change society from the top.248 The strict adherence to Islamic sources lies at the core of Salafi teaching. Im portant to mention however, is that there are Salafis who do not always rigidly apply these teachings in practice. Additionally, there is a tendency to select specific sources to adhere to in order to justify a specific action or claim. The Hadiths for example, are oral traditions documented in later years that are susceptible to fabrication and certain Hadiths have, for that reason, led to endless debate about their authenticity.249 Although the Hadiths help understand the Qur 'än and are considered important historical references, there are Hadiths that have become a religiously authoritative ruling but that actually have no mention in the Qur'än. Examples are the stoning of adulterers and certain social limitations on women.250 Since Salafis place Hadiths above human reasoning, quietist Salafi shaykhs can issue a fatw ä whose religious credibility rests on a Hadith that may, or may not be, authentic,251 but which may nevertheless be implemented.252 The general lack of control over who implements what fatwäs and for what reason has at times blurred the boundaries between quietist Salafism and jihädi Salafism and should therefore be noted as an important critique of Salafism.253 247 See chapter 5 'Non-political Islamists: the Salafi Jihadis and the situation in Sinai'. 248 Casper 2013 (a). 249 Akyol 2011,101. 250 Ibid, 103. 251 In June 2013, prominent Salafi shaykh ‘Abd al-Maqsüd called on people to support the revolution in Syria and to attack anyone who denigrates the followers of Prophet Muhammad. According to many, al-Maqsüd's speech was directed at Shi‘ite Muslims and days later, four Shi‘ites, including a prominent shaykh, were murdered. The way in which this particular fatwä was interpreted or imple mented suggests the ease with which the boundaries between quietist Salafis and jihädi salafis can be blurred. For more information see Hulsman (ed.) 2013 (a). 252 Jerome Drevon, in 2013 a Ph.D. candidate studying the evolution of Islamist armed groups, also mentions the blurring of this line in reference to the conflict in Syria. Quietist Salafis can issue fatwäs that they must support their Muslim brothers in Syria, but they do not control how this is interpreted, who goes to Syria and what tactics are used to support their Muslim brothers. The war in Syria has seen a surge of jihädi salafis from all over the world who follow the fatwäs of shaykhs who claim that it is a religious duty to fight against the Syrian regime. Drevon 2013. 253 Brown 2011, 5. 77 3.2.2 Islam ism Salafis are often called Islamists, another term that has triggered endless debate and often brings together diverse groups under one banner. Muhammad Saläh, for example, explains how "the main stream [of Islam] encompasses the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafis, the Tablighis, [who] are all considered Islamists."254 This section briefly details how different Salafi political actors define Islamism and whether they identify as Islamist. Such a discussion will deepen the understanding of the term Islamism and perhaps do away with some of the misconceptions surrounding it. The majority of political Salafis interviewed define Islamists as those Mus lims who are religiously committed and who consider it their responsibility to work towards the unification of all Muslims believing that this unity will result in an Islamic empire.255 Political Islam scholar Nädiya Mustafä clarifies this statement a little more by explaining that political Salafis view this responsibility as all encompassing, referring to social, religious, spiritual or political duty.256 A former member of the Hizb al-Watan (The Homeland Party), who later left politics all together, maintains that the label 'Islamist' is purely a Western construction and a label used by the media. He explains that these so-called 'Islamists' are individuals who identify themselves simply as Muslim or as someone who supports the idea that Islam is part of daily life - including politics - and whose culture comes from Islam.257 Muhammad Saläh supports this line of reasoning by explaining how "Is lamic thought and Islamic teachings evolve around one thing, good manners, [and] if somebody observes them, then he is a religiously committed person, something [the West] likes to call an Islamist."258 He continues by stating that there is in fact "no Muslim who is an Islamist and no Muslim who is not an Islamist; there is a Muslim who is a practicing Muslim and a Muslim who is negligent of his religious duties."259 Those labeled as Islamists in the current political arena in Egypt believe in the "Islamic Project/' a term that also needs further clarification. The "Is lamic Project" is aimed at realizing the implementation of Shari 'a and the creation of an Islamic state. Although the umma lies at the core of Salafism, and subsequently the "Islamist Project," it appears to be a conceptual idea rather than a realistic goal that can be achieved in the near future. Discuss- 254 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 255 Smit 2013 (a); Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 256 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Mascarenhas-Keyes 2013. 257 Smit 2013 (d). 258 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 259 Ibid. 78 ing the extent to which Muslims worldwide are being united is thus beyond the scope of this chapter. When it is argued that successful implementation of the "Islamic Project" faces many challenges, the implementation of Shari 'a and the creation of an Islamic state are considered within the confines of Egypt only. 3.3 History and the January 25 Revolution: Becoming Politically Active 3.3.1 Before the January 25 Revolution As mentioned above, most Salafis believe in religiously reforming the indi vidual according to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad through strict adherence to Islamic sources. Most quietist Salafis believe in individual trans formation rather than societal transformation by political means.260 For this reason, they have historically refrained from political participation and Salafism has manifested itself in movements such as the Jamä 'atAnsär al-Sunna (Assembly of the Helpers of Sunna) or al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya, both of which were concerned with teaching religion and later also with assisting the poor by acting as large non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Since 1952, former regimes under Jamäl ‘Abd al-Näsir, Anwar al-Sädät, and Husni Mubärak, respectively, accepted this for two main reasons: first, in allowing Salafi movements to teach people about the pure form of Islam and to sup port the poor through charity work, the risk of an uprising from the poor was somewhat subdued; second, former President Mubärak in particular, used the quietest Salafis to counter the more extremist Islamist movements, such as the Islamic Jihäd or the then outlawed, al-Jamä 'a al-Islämiyya, two violent movements that aimed to overthrow the Egyptian government and replace it with an Islamic state.261 Moreover, because quietist Salafis believe they should not rise up against a Muslim leader, these former regimes were inclined to allow them to practice their religion more freely.262 Nevertheless, many of the political Salafis interviewed explain how despite these freedoms, Salafis were treated as second-class citizens; they were li mited in their mobility and they were not admitted to the army, the police, the judicial system, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or other high-ranking, politically sensitive governmental positions.263 In the words of Khälid 260 Jung 2012. 261 Smit 2013 (d). 262 Brown 2011, 5. 263 Smit 2013 (d); Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Casper 2013; Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Mascarenhas-Keyes 2013. 79 Mansür, founding member and spokesperson of Hizb al-Isläh (Egyptian Reform Party), "[Salafis] faced the tyranny of the old regimes, from 30 years ago."264Many Salafis were subjected to arbitrary arrests and imprisonment and according to a former member of the Salafi al-Watan Party, Mubärak's regime did not sufficiently differentiate between devout Muslims who were peaceful and successful in their work and jihädi Salafis with possible relations to terrorism.265 The easily blurred boundaries between quietist Salafis and jihädi Salafis could easily be manipulated by former regimes and was used to limit the movement of Salafis in general. The first Salafi association, Ansär al-Sunna, was founded in 1926 and never tried to create a mass movement. It was only under Anwar al-Sädät in the late 1970s, when al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya was founded in Alexandria, that there was a Salafi movement that presented itself not only as a religious organiza tion, but also as a larger social phenomenon.266 A growing number of students who had received the shaykhs' teachings in Alexandria returned to their hometowns and spread the message of al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya, which soon grew to be the most organized Salafi movement and provided reli gious teachings and social services in different neighborhoods around the country.267 Khälid Mansür explains that although al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya may currently have a significant number of Salafi followers, it still only represents a por tion of Egypt's Salafis.268 This is because Salafis follow the teachings and sermons of a particular shaykh, or scholar. The more acclaimed or charis matic the shaykh, the more followers he is likely to have. For al-Da 'wa al- Salafiyya this means that individual shaykhs are affiliated to the movement and are in turn followed by their students or other individuals who trust and respect that particular shaykh. Salafis do not believe in hierarchy or an organized movement that they must obey269 and they therefore do not rigidly follow al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya as an organization. As a result, Salafism has never manifested itself as a centralized, hierarchical, and united move ment and has for that reason never resembled anything close to the orga nized movement of the Muslim Brotherhood. 264 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 265 Smit 2013 (d). 266 Lacroix 2012, 2. 267 Ibid. 268 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 269 Brown 2011, 4. 80 3.3.2 The Salafi Shaykhs and the January 25 Revolution Before moving on to this next section, a brief description of the concept of shaykhs is required. Shaykhs, or Islamic scholars, are an important concept in Islam in general, but are particularly relevant in Salafism since the move ment exists around the teachings of individual scholars and preachers who are referred to as shaykhs. Some shaykhs were educated at al-Azhar University, most notably Yäsir Burhämi, whereas others are more influenced by Saudi scholars.270 Shaykhs have studied the Islamic sources and are considered an authority when it comes to determining what Islam does and does not permit. As a result, shaykhs stand central to Salafism. As mentioned above, before the January 25 Revolution, Salafis were absent from the political scene in Egypt. The choice to refrain from political partic ipation appeared to be a unanimous Salafi decision. Nevertheless, there was a division among shaykhs. Some believed it was religiously impermissible, and thus haräm, to be politically active. Most notable were Shaykh Yäsir Burhämi - who was very vocal in condemning elections and democratic in stitutions for being anti-Islamic271 - and shaykh Muhammad Isma il al- Muqaddim, who rejected democracy because he claimed it turned people into gods.272 At the same time however, there were shaykhs who simply said political participation would require working with an oppressive regime and ultimately would not change anything and should thus be avoided. An example is shaykh Abü Ishäq al-Hiwini, who stated that politics was a govern ment scheme to draw power away from Islamic movements.273 Moreover, according to shaykh Muhammad Saläh, "[Salafi political] participation was zero because they (...) did not believe in the Machiavellian slogan, which is that goals justify the means." He explains that the pre-Revolution ideology adhered to the belief that "Islam says: if you cannot change the evil, then at least you have to dismiss it." During a June 18,2013 interview, Bassäm al-Zarqä of al-Nür Party explains: When we used to work in pre-revolutionary Egypt we refused to join the electoral process for three reasons: One, we had to let go of a lot of principles; two, in the end we were not getting anything in re turn; three, we can find no improvement. The only improvement was decorating Mubärak's dictatorship, and being part of the im 270 Ibid, 4-6. 271 Wright 2012,46. 272 Ibid, 46. 273 Ibid, 46. 81 aginative decor of how the system works, so we refused to join the electoral process before the revolution.274 Clearly, shaykhs in this camp believed that political participation was not necessarily haräm, but that Salafis should not be part of an oppressive re gime that they were incapable of changing.275 After the January 25 Revolution, there is a shift in opinion. Many of the shaykhs, who had considered political participation futile, but not haräm, quickly embraced the protests and once it became clear that Mubärak's re gime would fall, they called for Salafi political participation.276 Shaykh ' Abd al-Maqsüd for example, was one of the first prominent shaykhs to support the Revolution.277 A former member of al-Watan Party and Muhammad Saläh explain some of the shifts that occurred: some of the shaykhs in the first camp, in particular Yäsir Burhämi, who previously considered political participation haräm, now states that Salafi political participation is required in order to reach their goals.278 Bassäm al-Zarqä, who had always been interested in politics already,279 was one of those who followed the new vision of shaykh Burhämi: There was a group that had a political interests within al-Da 'wa al- Salafiyya and they were excited for founding a party. Some of them were not enthusiastic about this, but in every change there is always a group that leads the way.280 Other shaykhs however, such as al-Muqaddim and Muhammad Hasan adhere to their old beliefs and want nothing to do with politics. Some shaykhs maintain that it is religiously impermissible to rebel against a Muslim ruler and that the January 25 Revolution makes demands that are unrelated to religion.281 The fluctuating positions on democracy and political participation resulted in a conflict among the more senior Salafi figures in Egypt. This conflict created a division among the Salafi masses and some Salafis joined the Revo 274 Smit 2013 (a). 275 Smit 2013 (a); Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 276 Brown 2011, 6. 277 Lacroix 2012, 2. 278 Smit 2013 (a). 279 Smit 2013 (a). 280 Ibid. 281 Smit 2013 (d). 82 lution and supported the formation of Salafi political parties, whereas others upheld their belief that they should not be politically active.282 Despite this division, we have seen the appearance of numerous Salafi polit ical groups and movementssince the January 25 Revolution. The rest of the chapter will limit its discussion to those parties that are officially registered, have a significant outreach, or are abundantly present in the Egyptian me dia. These parties are al-Nür Party, the political branch of al-Da 'wa al- Salafiyya of which shaykh Yässer Burhämi is one of the most senior figures; al-Watan Party, which split from al-Nür Party; al-Asäla Party, which is led by a group of well-known shaykhs of which ‘ Abd ‘ Abd al-Maqsüd is the most well-known; Hizb al-Fadila (Virtue Party), a small independent party with no mother organization; al-Isläh Party, the political branch of al-Tayyär al- Salafi (the Salafi Current); Hizb al-Räya (the Flag Party), founded by the popular shaykh Häzim Saläh Abü Ism äil; and Hizb al-Sha 'b (the People's Party), the political arm of al-Jabha al-Salafiyya (the Salafi Front), a young Salafi movement founded during the January 25 Revolution.283 3.3.3 The Ideological Agenda of Salafi Parties Ideologically, there is little difference between the various Salafi parties. Salafis believe in an Islamic state in which the rules of Shari 'a govern all aspects of life. This has led to heated arguments with the more liberal and secular segments of Egyptian society, particularly where it concerns the rights of minorities and women. Shari 'a only recognizes the three Abrahamic religions - Islam, Christianity, and Judaism - and under Shari 'a law, Christians and Jews can follow their own personal status law. Although all Salafi parties unanimously agree that Christians have the same rights as Muslims, they maintain that the presi dent of Egypt can only ever be a Muslim.284 According to Mahmüd Fathi, party leader of al-Fadila Party, and Nädir Bakkär, spokesperson of al-Nür Party, the situation for Christians is safer under an Islamic state than it is within the current situation.285 When asking about Christian members however, it quickly became apparent that most Salafi parties do not actually have any active Christian members who support their call for an Islamic 282 Casper 2013 (a). 283 For an overview of the political agendas of each of these parties please see http://egyptelections.carnegieendowment.org/category/political-parties. 284 Smit, 2013 (c); Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Mascarenhas-Keyes 2013. 285 Smit, 2013 (c); Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Mascarenhas-Keyes 2013; Shalaby 2013. 83 state.286 Bassam al-Zarqa from al-Nür Party, states that ten percent of Chris tians in Southern Egypt would be likely to give their vote to al-Nür Party, but this is difficult to verify.287 Nevertheless, to simply ignore such state ments or consider them refutable would be wrong, too. In some places around Egypt, for example in Qufadah, al-Minya, in Upper Egypt, it is common to see Muslims and Christians living closely alongside each other. In this particular village, a Christian priest actively campaigned for a Salafi shaykh and member of al-Nür Party running for Parliament during the 2012 parliamentary elections. This decision however, was based on personal relations between the priest and the shaykh and not on the priest's support for al-Nür ideology.288 As a result, statements made by Salafi politicians regarding active Christian support for the creation of an Islamic state are almost impossible to sub-stantiate. Egypt has other minorities as well, including Baha'is and Shi is, both of whom are not permitted to practice their religion under the Islamic law as understood by the Salafis. Salafis believe that Sh iite Islam is not the correct form of Islam and its practice should therefore not be permitted. Both Fathi and Bakkar emphasize that any minority group practicing a religion other than Sunni Islam, Christianity, or Judaism will be protected equally as Egyptians, but will not have the same rights because their religion is not recognized under the Salafi understanding of Islamic law.289 Salafi parties are known for their conservative stance on women as well. According to Fathi, the protection and well-being of the woman is of utmost importance and hence there are certain limitations to what she is and is not permitted to do.290 For example, a woman is not allowed to travel abroad unless a male member of the family accompanies her. "The goal here is the protection and the well being of the woman more than anything, not her restrictions."291 However, this inevitably limits her opportunities in comparison to that of men. Fathi explains how al-Fadila Party has female members listed for parliamentary elections since qualifications are more important than gender. In fact, they can run for any seat, but not for the presidential seat. Fathi explains that during the days of the Prophet, he had 286 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Mascarenhas-Keyes 2013; Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Casper 2013; Shalaby 2013. 287 Smit 2013 (a). 288 Hulsman 2012 (d). 289 Smit 2013 (c); Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Mascarenhas-Keyes 2013. 290 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Mascarenhas-Keyes 2013. 291 Ibid. 84 said, "no society will succeed being ruled by a woman."292 He continues by explaining the existence of a scholarly opinion, which stipulates "that the woman has a level of emotions that guides and governs the female, which is also present in the sentimental or emotional man, who is similarly not al lowed to run for president."293 So, although most Salafi parties have female members, there are no Salafi parties with high-ranking female members. Al- Nür Party leader, Yünis Makhiyyün, for example, explains that female candidates are not allowed in the top third of the list because it would increase their chance of election.294 Salafis believe that sovereignty lies with God and not with the people. And, as Fathi rationalizes, since Shari'a is derived from the word of God, "the Shari 'a should not be a part of the constitution; it should stand above the constitution."295 Fathi hereby explains that the stance of Salafi parties on women's rights for example, is not a political opinion, but a religious rule that all of society must obey if Egypt is to be an Islamic state.296 The implications of this strict adherence to Shari 'a and the position Salafi parties believe Shari 'a should hold in terms of the Constitution will be further discussed in section 3.4.6.1. The rest of this chapter will focus on and scrutinize the actions and positions of the Salafi parties in the political playing field of Egypt in order to assert that the future stability of Salafi political parties is fragile and that they face challenges that may impede the successful implementation of the "Islamic Project." 3.4 Tension Between Political and Religious Salafism Politics is a dirty business and we are not dirty people.297 There is a tension between religious Salafism and political Salafism that needs to be resolved in the future if parties want to maintain a stable posi tion in the political playing field. The struggle has appeared on numerous occasions and is a result of parties searching for ways to be politically pragmatic while simultaneously maintaining a religiously conservative identity. This section makes four sub-arguments in order to demonstrate the apparent struggle between religious Salafism and political Sala-fism. The 292 Ibid. 293 Ibid. 294 Shalaby 2013. 295 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Mascarenhas-Keyes 2013. 296 Ibid. 297 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 85 first argument centers on the notion that political participation is unlikely to generate a united Salafi movement. 3.4.1 No United Salafi Movement Since the January 25 Revolution, the political arena of Egypt has witnessed the rise of several Salafi parties, all of which must compete with each other in order to guarantee their future position in the political playing field. By nature, politics is a divisive and competitive game. One of the reasons that Salafis were not politically active and did not accept democratic structures before the January 25 Revolution was their belief that a multi-party system would go against the idea of unity preached by Islam. Because of the com petitive nature of the political system into which the Salafis have been absorbed, disputes have arisen both between and within Salafi parties. On certain occasions these disputes had led to the fragmentation of parties. This occurred early for al-Asäla Party which split from al-Fadila Party in July 2011 as a result of managerial and administrative differences.298 Similarly, in January 2013, al-Watan Party separated from al-Nür Party because, as ex plained by a former member of al-Watan Party, they disagreed over the way al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya continued to hold over the day-to-day functioning of the party.299 In turn, within al-Watan Party there had allegedly been massive resignations as a result of further internal differences and divisions causing additional fragmentation.300 The fragmentation and division of politically active Salafis is apparent elsewhere, too. Although there is still a significant amount of cooperation be tween the different Salafi parties, there appeared to be a deepening rift be tween al-Nür Party on the one side, and the remaining Salafi political parties on the other side. This further discouraged the formation of a united Salafi front. The clear division in cooperation can be seen as a result of certain po litical decisions taken by al-Nür Party. According to most of the Salafi polit ical parties, and as expressed in particular by Ihäb Shiha, al-Asäla Party leader, Khälid Mansür of al-Isläh Party and Mahmüd Fathi of al-Fadila Party, al-Nür Party's early decision (which was later revised) to cooperate with the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of the Muslim Brother hood, despite a belief among the Salafi parties that the Muslim Brotherhood was sacrificing part of their Islamic identity for the sake of ruling, is among the main causes for the rift in cooperation between them and al-Nür Par 298 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Mascarenhas-Keyes 2013. 299 Smit 2013 (d). 300 Ahram Online 2013 (f). 86 ty.301 Fathi, for example, described the FJP as "pragmatic"302 and opposed it for four main reasons: one, their way of dealing with the previous regime on a transformational basis [...], rather than a revolutionary basis; two, their way of maintaining the previous corrupt system in place as it was under the Mubärak regime; three, their way of maintaining the interna tional political domain in the same way that it used to be dealt with [...]; four, [how] they are consumed by the day to day issues of running the country rather than focusing on the objectives that the country should be built on.303 In initially allying with the ruling FJP, al-Nür Party had chosen a path of po litical pragmatism. The party was looking for ways to set itself apart from other parties in order to gain that competitive advantage that it thinks would win the party a larger support base. As such, the decision to ally with the ruling Islamist party suggests al-Nür Party was looking for ways to strengthen its political position. Shihä describes al-Nür Party and the FJP as "operating on that dictatorial type of leadership role,"304 enabled because of the large support base provided by al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya and the Muslim Brotherhood, respectively. He explains how despite the effectiveness of being able "to get their people to just obey the instructions they were given, [ . ] at this stage [it] is not really appropriate for [ . ] the country to be built on the direction of a group that has closed in upon itself."305 Al-Nür Party is not the only Salafi party capable of demonstrating political pragmatism. After its split with al-Nür Party, al-Watan Party adopted a more moderate discourse and distanced itself more from persuasive shaykhs influencing party policies in order to set itself apart from al-Nür Party and other Salafi parties. Al-Watan Party allows Christian members and female members to run for Parliament and promotes the party's open approach to anyone who is qualified and supports the "Islamic Project."306 The party's insistence on a centrist approach based on inclusion rather than exclusion demonstrates the pragmatic approach adopted by al-Watan Party. Additionally, the party leader, Imäd ‘ Abd al-Ghafür, had obtained his position as presidential advisor to Muhammad Mursi as a result of the party's coop eration with the FJP. Being a new party on the political scene, al-Watan Par 301 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Casper 2013; Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (h, i). 302 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (h). 303 Ibid. 304 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Casper 2013. 305 Ibid. 306 Smit 2013 (d); Azab and Senegri 2013. 87 ty did not want to lose the support of the FJP and chose a path of coopera tion. Although al-Watan Party was vocal in stating its disagreement with the FJP, politically it was willing to negotiate with the ruling party at that time.307 The separation between al-Watan Party and al-Nür Party is apparent, but unlike the other Salafi parties, it is not because al-Watan Party rejects the political pragmatism. In fact, the pragmatism practiced and embraced by both al-Nür and al-Watan is what sets these two parties apart from the other Salafi parties. This rift between al-Nür Party and the other Salafi parties is significant. Al- Nür Party is the biggest Salafi party in Egypt, primarily because it benefits from al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya’s long history and organized structure: "they have the people on the streets [...], which is why they can win seats in parliament," explains Khälid Mansür from al-Isläh Party.308 Nevertheless, Mansür also claims that al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya only represents about 30 per cent of Egypt's Salafis and believes that Salafis are increasingly reaching out to parties other than al-Nür.309 This suggests that the existence of so many different parties encourages a division among Egypt's Salafis. Salafifollowers must decide what party they will follow and are forced to decide whether they will support a more pragmatic Salafi party, such as al-Nür or al-Watan, or a more radical one, such as al-Sha 'b Party or al-Räya, two par ties that are particularly unwilling to compromise with any actor that does not share its vision and which have for this reason taken many young and radical Salafi followers with them.310 Many of the Salafi politicians interviewed agree that there might not be a united Salafi movement at that time, but that this is sure to come in the future.311 Muhammad Saläh explained the lack of Salafi political experience by comparing Salafis to members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who "have been in politics since before they were born: (...) they were breastfed politics."312 The Salafis however, have only recently emerged on the political scene and their general lack of political experience means that there has been little to no chance for them to manifest themselves politically and for political par ties to comfortably maneuver their way around the political playing field. It 307 Shukrallah 2013 (a). 308 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 309 Ibid. 310 Rubin 2013. 311 Smit 2013 (d); Smit and Casper 2013. 312 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 88 is generally assumed that it will take some time for a single, well-grounded political party to be established behind which all Salafis can unite.313 The majority of Salafis who are now politically active have not had any significant kind of political exposure before. They have only recently started communicating on a political level and it is likely that some parties will dissolve while others will unite. Nevertheless, there appears to be little strength gained from having x num ber of Salafi parties that all have the same official objective, but who all criticize each other for either not having the correct administrative procedures, or for not having a clear vision, even when they all have an almost identical vision.314 Ideologically, there is not much difference between the various parties, which would imply that the parties could certainly merge or grow towards each other in the future. Structurally, managerially, and administratively however, differences are paramount and in the first two years of Salafi polit ical participation, the trend has been one of division rather than unity. This suggests that the pragmatic decision to participate in an inherently fractured political landscape actually contradicts with the religious conviction of Salafis. A tension thus exists between religious Salafism and political Salafism, which may challenge the successful implementation of the "Islam ic Project." 3.4.2 Dilemma with the Shaykhs The struggle between religious Salafism and political Salafism also appears in deciding on whether shaykhs should play a role in Salafi political parties. The question of whether to break from the shaykhs is extremely complex precisely because shaykhs play such an important role in Egyptian society and are highly respected and closely followed by pious Salafis throughout the country. The dilemma that Salafi political parties are likely to face is as follows: shaykhs are needed for religious credibility, raising funds, and community projects. In short, shaykhs are needed to mobilize support among a Muslim constituency. Simultaneously how-ever, shaykhs know very little about the day-to-day management of a country and are generally concerned with spreading and teaching the word of God only. This means that religious movements or influential independent shaykhs may prevent the party from truly embracing politics when and if this contradicts with their religious convictions. 313 Ibid. 314 Drevon 2013. 89 There appears to be a divide between those parties that have attempted to break political ties with shaykhs and those parties that are closely affiliated with either a mother organization or influential independent shaykhs. Ac cording to al-Fadila Party leader Mahmüd Fathi, al-Nür Party, al-Asäla, and al-Sha b Party are parties whose agendas are largely influenced, if not determined, by prominent shaykhs. Al-Asäla Party leader Shiha, however, claims that his party "tried to get away from the domi-nance of the shaykhs so [they] have a greater amount of flexibility in the way [they] operate because [they] can take [their] own decisions."315 However, despite this being the leadership vision, the party is, practically speaking, still very much dependent on influential shaykhs, a point that will be further developed below. Al-Watan Party has distanced itself a little from the influence of the shaykhs, this also being one of the reasons they have separated from al-Nür Party. Al- Isläh has also distanced itself somewhat from shaykhs, however, as explained by Mansür himself, and as emphasised by Fathi, in being the politi cal arm of al-Tayyär al-Salafi it is unlikely that al-Isläh Party can be completely separated from their shaykhs.316 As a result, Fathi maintains that al-Fadila is the only party that is completely separated from shaykhs.317 3.4.3 M obilizing Support Let us first look at one side of the dilemma, namely why shaykhs are impor tant for mobilizing support. The mobility of Salafis had been restricted for decades; they were largely absent from the higher echelons of society and until the January 25 Revolution they had never participated in Egypt's po litical arena. According to Muhammad Salah, an inevitable consequence of this is that ordinary Salafis rely more on the people they trust, in other words the shaykh they have followed for years, rather than on people with (political) qualifications.318 This belief is supported by testimonies from Issam al-Sharif- responsible for representing al-Asäla Party in Warraq, Cairo - and Hani Fawzi, a leading al-Asäla Party member responsible for public relations. They both assert that people listen to shaykhs and follow their advice about what party to sup port. Al-Sharif explains how Administratively [the shaykh] has no relation with the party, but realistically he is the party. And the party was made because of him and for him. [...] [Administratively they], don't have to agree with Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Casper 2013. Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (h); Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Casper 2013. Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 90 what he says, but this won't happen because of the spiritual commitment.319 In support of this view, Fawzi offers the following explanation: [A person] will listen to the shaykh's words. If the shaykh says that Asälah is a good party and he should help support the party and help them grow, that person will obey. The shaykh always says the right thing, so it offers comfort. That's the point. But if the shaykh says that he must go to the Freedom and Justice Party, then he will go to the FJP because he is convinced by everything the shaykh says.320 As an inevitable result, the preaching of prominent shaykhs with known ties to al-Asäla, including for example Muhammad ‘ Abd al-Maqsüd, had also increased the party's membership.321 A small party such as al-Asäla has not been in existence for a significant amount of time. Moreover, it does not have a mother organization and has not had time to develop its own religious references and leaders. It is a small party that has no real outreach on its own. Moreover, Shihä explains that they will not change the law or bring forward a new law until they feel that the Egyptian citizen is ready to accept it. "Hence [they] ask the shaykhs to help the people love Shari'a."322 Although on a political level, al-Asäla may be trying to move away from shaykhs. ‘ Abd al-Maqsüd, for example, the party will remain dependent on him for helping prepare society in accepting the party and thereby expanding its support base. Khälid Mansür, leading member of al-Isläh Party, also explains the importance of shaykhs for spreading the party's message, directing people to the party, and for collecting money.323 A membership fee has to be paid by anyone who joins the party and thus by encouraging people to join al-Isläh, for example, shaykhs automatically help the party raise money. Muhammad Saläh believes that Salafi political participation has changed the role of the shaykh because "in the past [he] was 100% preoccupied with the reform of the person, the soul, the mind, the society, the individual or the family, but nowadays, willingly or unwillingly, even in [his] speeches [he] finds [himself] swerving towards politics right and left."324 319 Smit and Casper 2013. 320 Smit 2013 (b). 321 Smit 2013 (b); Smit and Casper 2013. 322 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Casper 2013. 323 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 324 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 91 Al-Fadila Party is not the political offshoot of any Salafi movement or a larger mother organization. Moreover, it does not closely associate itself to any particularly influential shaykh. Although this a deliberate decision, perhaps to differentiate itself from the other Salafi parties, the inevitable consequence is that al-Fadila is one of the smallest Salafi parties active on the po litical scene. According to Nädir Bakkär, al-Fadila is "a one-person party" that cannot even be considered.325 In contrast, al-Nür Party's immediate electoral success in the 2012 parlia mentary elections gives an indication as to how important shaykhs are for mobilizing support. Salafis across Egypt have known al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya for decades. By using the name of al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya, al-Nür Party has tried to tell people that every step they take is judged according to Islamic principles and al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya thereby provides al-Nür Party with the religious credibility it needs to garner support among conservative Egyp tians. During the 2012 parliamentary elections, al-Nür Party was in an al liance with al-Asäla and the Building and Development Party, the political branch of Al-Jamä 'a al-Islämiyya. 85 percent of the joint candidates came from al-Nür Party 326 and it can thus be assumed that the majority of votes collected were for al-Nür Party, rather than for al-Asäla and the Building and Development Party. At the time of elections, it was still too early to predict how such a new party would manifest itself on the political scene, but the party still won 24 percent of the seats in Parliament and 25 percent of the seats in the Shürä Council, unprecedented for a recently established political party.327 This suggests that al-Nür Party already had a large Salafi constituency, regardless of what the party's political role would become. It can thus be argued that people voted for the shaykhs affiliated to al-Da 'wa al- Salafiyya, who they were likely to have known for years, rather than for what they thought to be a qualified political party. 3.4.4 Shaykhs' Limited Knowledge of Economics and Politics On the other side of the dilemma is the realization that shaykhs are likely to have very limited knowledge of economics and politics. Although Islam broadly outlines how one should live their life morally and ethically, it says very little about how society functions on an economic and political level. Despite this limitation, shaykhs play a significant role in the decision- 325 Smit 2013 (c). 326 Jung 2012, 2. 327 Carnegie Endowments for International Peace 2012. 92 making process of the majority of Salafi political parties thereby framing politics through an Islamic legal and theoretical lens.328 Shaykhs have always consulted Islamic sources when they are asked about the religious legality of any decision. In being politically active, economic and political decisions often need to be made for which there may not be a religious reference stipulating its permissibility. When this arises, ijtihäd, or independent reasoning, is applied, which allows comparisons to be made to other precedents and rationality to be used to determine whether something is religiously permissible or not.329 Shaykhs can have different opinions on this since there is room for personal interpretation and for judgment according to their own reasoning, a process influenced by culture, his tory, or education. An example where this gave rise to conflict was in February 2012, during the debate about whether Egypt should accept an IMF loan in order to help lift the country out of immediate economic crisis.330 Some shaykhs maintained that it was religiously impermissible because of the interest that had to be paid over the loan, something that is forbidden under Islamic law. Other shaykhs however, maintained that Egypt's detrimental economic circumstances and the lack of alternative options made it an exceptional situation and therefore considered the loan religiously permissible.331 This suggests that shaykhs are prone to saying different things when it comes to matters that have no or little religious reference. In having become politically active, the likelihood of this occurring on a regular basis has increased significantly precisely because politics is performed in the context of a modern nation-state, which did not yet exist at the time in which the religious references were written. This suggests that ijtihäd will have to be applied on a regular basis, increasing the chances for tension that may arise in deciding whether to base a decision on its political or economic necessity or on the basis of its religious permissibility. So on the one hand, a close re lationship with shaykhs is indispensable for mobilization, while on the other hand their general lack of political and economic know-how and their tendency to base decisions on what is stipulated in the religious sources may ultimately damage the party's position in the political arena. 328 Smit 2013 (d); Smit 2013 (a); Smit 2013 (c). 329 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 330 Perry 2013. 331 Smit 2013 (d); Perry 2013; Rubin 2013. 93 3.4.5 June 30 and the Struggle Between Political Pragmatism and Religious Purity The struggle in finding a balance between being politically pragmatic while simultaneously upholding an identity based on religious purity is clearly visible when analyzing the massive popular uprising of June 30,2013 and its immediate aftermath. The event demonstrates how parties felt forced to choose between politics and religion. Al-Nür Party opted for tipping the balance in favor of political pragmatism and remaining neutral at first, while later clearly taking the side of the interim regime. The other Salafi par ties however, chose to protect their religiously- conservative identity by emphasizing their commitment to their ideological goal - implementation of the "Islamic Project" - and supporting the Islamist president and the Mus lim Brotherhood. The consequences of both decisions are discussed below and once again suggest that Salafi parties face a significant challenge in overcoming the tension created by this struggle. 3.4.5.1 Al-Nür Party and Political Pragmatism Al-Nür Party was the only Salafi party that chose to remain neutral in the lead up to June 30. In an interview with al-Nür Party spokesperson Nädir Bakkär, conducted just days before June 30, he explains how the party refused to classify the event as a struggle between Islam and non-Islam, and instead chose to frame it as criticism of the regime headed by Muhammad Mursi.332 After Mursi's deposal on July 3,2013, al-Nür Party adopted a discourse in which they called for political reconciliation and dialogue be tween all parties instead of a discourse that depicted June 30 and the subsequent ousting of Mursi as an attack against Islamism. Khälid Mansür ex plains that al-Nür Party can do this because unlike the majority of Salafi par ties, "their political ideology allows them to sit with [the opposition] at this point in time, and negotiate with them."333 Al-Nür Party thereby appeared to have adopted a tactic based on politics, rather than religion. In choosing to play politics, al-Nür Party has, for the time being, secured a position in the political arena. Nevertheless, al-Nür Party has sacrificed part of its popularity in order to secure this position. The party's decision to re main neutral towards June 30 was strongly criticized by the other Salafi par ties, as well as by the party's own members and followers.334 Bakkär ex plains that they are "facing a very strong criticism that is pushing [them] to go out on the streets in support of Mursi saying that [they] are separating 332 Smit 2013 (c). 333 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 334 Al-Anani 2013. 94 [themselves] from the Islamic stream."335 Moreover, he admitted that a number of his party's supporters have in fact rejected the party's stance and have chosen instead to join the protests in support of Mursi. Bakkär claims that they can stop about 80% of their supporters from going out in the streets and joining the protests.336Even after Mursi was deposed on July 3, al-Nür Party has maintained that political pragmatism is the only way they can ensure their position in the political arena. This decision cost the party a lot of support from people who believe that al-Nür Party is abandoning the "Islamic Project" by negotiating with the army and the liberal and secular players who are considered to be behind the deposal of the Islamist presi dent.337 Despite this loss in support however, al-Nür Party was the only Salafi party that was part of the new political roadmap launched by the interim regime and was part of the committee drafting the new Egyptian Constitution. It was thereby the only active Salafi player in the interim government struggling to safeguard the progress that may have already been made towards implementation of the "Islamic Project" and struggling to ensure that steps can continue to be made in the future. Progress towards the "Islamic Project" can be understood in terms of the 2012 Egyptian Constitution, which had an extra article - Article 219 - that strengthened the weight of Shari 'a and its conservative Sunni interpretation. In addition, the 2012 Con stitution ensured the Islamic identity of the Egyptian state and limited the freedom of religion to Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. These were significant steps in the direction of the "Islamic Project" as envisioned by the Salafi political parties. 3.4.5.2 Preservation of a Religiously Conservative Identity In contrast to al-Nür Party, in the weeks leading up to June 30 and continuing well after Mursi was overthrown, the other Salafi political parties opted to safeguard their religious credibility among the masses rather than choosing for the politically pragmatic approach adopted by al-Nür Party. The narrative adopted by these parties however, was at first glance not necessarily religious. In fact, they claimed to be fighting for the preservation of democratic values and the reinstatement of a legitimately elected president, thereby adopting the discourse used by the FJP and the Muslim Brother hood. Nevertheless, these Salafi parties were tipping the balance more to wards ensuring religious credibility rather than acting according to political 335 Smit 2013 (c). 336 Ibid. 337 Al-Anani 2013. 95 pragmatism for two main reasons: one, as discussed at the beginning of this chapter, many Salafis believe they cannot reject a Muslim ruler, implying that the parties could not have supported Tamarrud's call for Mursi's resig nation; two, the Salafi parties rejecting Mursi's deposal were using religion to justify their cause. Before June 30, the majority of Salafi parties, in particular the al-Fadila Party, al-Isläh, and al-Asäla, were very vocal in their critique of Muhammad Mursi, the FJP, and the Muslim Brotherhood. They referred to themselves as oppo sition parties and rejected many actions taken by Mursi and the Qandil cab inet. For example, al-Fadtla party leader Mahmüd Fathi rejected the way the FJP and the Muslim Brotherhood worked with and essentially sustained the previous corrupt system of Mubärak. Moreover, he criticized the FJP and the Muslim Brotherhood for being so consumed with day-to-day politics that they were forgetting the larger objectives, presumably the "Islamic Project."338 In turn, Khälid Mansür of al-Isläh Party claimed to be in an op position party for many reasons, including the Muslim Brotherhood's struggle to control high-ranking positions.339 In the lead up to June 30, however, these parties radically changed their positions and sided with the FJP, even though many of the reasons for launching the June 30 Tamarrud cam paign in the first place ran parallel to Salafi objections towards the FJP and its mother organization. Mansür explains how "there is still a lot of com mon ground and that is very clear when it comes to Räba 'a al- 'Adawiyya Square and al-Nahda Square. Many people will have different political views, but now there is a common ground."340 In contrast to the smaller Salafi parties discussed here, al-Watan Party can be considered slightly more pragmatic. Although the party openly sided with the FJP and the Muslim Brotherhood, it decided to not participate in the protests leading up to June 30 in order to avoid bloodshed.341 Al-Watan Par ty also led a national reconciliation initiative, which sought consensus be tween the different sides.342 Nevertheless, after July 3, al-Watan Party was among the founding members of the National Alliance Supporting Legitimacy to reject the overthrow of President Mursi. Since Mursi was deposed on July 3, these Salafi parties, including al-Watan Party, have stood by the Muslim Brotherhood and have demanded the return of Mursi as the only legitimate president, refusing to negotiate with the interim regime. 338 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (h). 339 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 340 Ibid. 341 AhramOnline2013(g). 342 Ibid. 96 Although this can be understood in terms of fighting for democratic principles, it must be placed in a wider context. As discussed at the beginning of this chapter, Salafis believed in political quietism; historically speaking, they were not politically active, nor did they rebel against their Muslim leader. Moreover, until the January 25 Revolution, Salafis essentially rejected democracy because it gave too much sovereignty to the people instead of to God. It has already been established that the January 25 Revolution changed the context and environment in such a way that many Salafis shifted their position and became politically active. Demo-cracy and politi cal participation has since become a means to an end, a way to ensure the implementation of the "Islamic Project" through legitimate means. Even the political Salafis however, still maintain that the religious texts forbid them from rebelling against a Muslim leader, unless he ceases to be Muslim.343 They may have become politically active and accepted to work within a democratic framework, but many still believe that they cannot rise up against a Muslim leader, even if they are largely against his actions. For these Salafis, religion, more than politics, influenced their decision to stand behind Mursi during and after the popular uprising against him. June 30 and its aftermath have become defined as a struggle between Islam ists and non-Islamists. Mansür believes that the divide between Islamists and non-Islamists is more severe after June 30. He explains how "people who choose now to struggle in the streets against what happened are mostly the Islamists and the people who show sympathy [to] Islamists."344 Mursi's deposal was even used as evidence for suggesting that the army and the interim regime were intent on oppressing Islamists.345 Moreover, various speakers at the pro-Mursi sit-ins at Räba 'a al- 'Adawiyya and al-Nahda Square claimed it was a religious duty to reject the deposal of the Islamist president. Frequent references have been made to martyrdom and dying in the name of Islam.346 Yäsir Burhämi, senior shaykh and founder of al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya, even spoke out about the "catastrophic discourse being done in the name of Islam."347 It thus appears as though the majority of Salafi politi cal parties are looking for ways to preserve their religious identity by using religion to justify their current position in the political arena. Moreover, although many Salafi parties identified themselves as opposition parties to the FJP, their criticism of the party was administrative and politi 343 Brown 2011, 3. 344 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 345 See Salafi newspaper www.elshaab.org 346 Ezzat 2013. 347 Al-Burhämi 2012. 97 cal more than ideological. Ultimately, the FJP wishes to see the implementa tion of Shari 'a and the unification of Muslim countries in a wi-der Islamic Caliphate. Despite certain objections to the FJP's political decisions, having a president who hails from an Islamist movement, and whose ultimate goal is broadly speaking in line with that of the Salafis, means that the deposal of this president for possibly a liberal or secular president significantly hampers materialization of the "Islamic Project." Since the "Islamic Project" strongly influences Salafi political activism, calling for the reinstatement of the Islamist president should be considered in relation to this goal. Remaining faithful to the "Islamic Project" is important for upholding and protecting the conservative religious identity of the Salafi parties, something that is threatened if they opt for a more political approach by negotiating with the interim government, largely seen as responsible for the overthrow of the Islamist president. This is reflected in the conflicting position of al-Isläh Par ty: Mansür claims that " [they] can sit with people of different ideologies and come to a decision," yet he simultaneously states that he cannot sit with the army and the opposition responsible for toppling Mursi's govern ment.348 Although he claims to be assuming a political role rather than a re ligious role by sitting with people of different ideologies, one must keep in mind that after the toppling of Mursi, these people of different ideologies only represent other Salafi parties and the Muslim Brotherhood. The post June 30 position taken by the majority of Salafi parties once again suggests that their commitment to the "Islamist Project" leaves very little room for political maneuvering with groups and parties of a truly different ideologi cal view. Unlike al-Nür Party, the smaller Salafi political parties refused to recognize the interim regime and are refusing to participate in the political roadmap. Since they did not participate they can continue to frame the struggle in terms of Islamists versus non-Islamists, using their identification with Islam and the "Islamic Project" to guarantee a wide support base among the more religiously conservative Egyptian population. It thus appeared as though the majority of Salafi parties have ignored poli-tical pragmatism and has opted instead for preserving their religious credibility among the masses. The conflicting reactions of al-Nür Party and the remaining Salafi parties towards June 30 and Mursi's subsequent deposal clearly demonstrate the struggle that exists between the simultaneous need for political pragmatism and protection of their religiously conservative Islamic identity. In order to safeguard their future stability however, it is important that Salafi parties find a way to balance political pragmatism and religious conservatism. 348 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 98 3.4.6 The "Islam ic Project" This section is divided into three parts in an effort to further explain the struggles surrounding the attempted implementation of the "Islamic Project." The first part analyzes the 2012 constitutional debate in order to illustrate the tension that may arise in trying to convert an ideological vi sion into a political agenda. Then the 2012 presidential elections are described after which the types of alliances made in the name of the "Islamic Project" are addressed in order to further demonstrate the tension that exists between religious Salafism and political Salafism. 3.4.6.1 The Constitutional Debate In the second half of 2012 a Constituent Assembly began drafting the new Egyptian Constitution. Al-Nür Party was the only Salafi party represented in the Constituent Assembly.349 Drafting of the Constitution gave rise to much debate, in particular concerning Article 2, which stipulates that the principles of Islamic law are the main source of legislation. Salafis opposed this article because it failed to have the principles defined and determined by shaykhs.350 They were pushing for a stricter rule that guaranteed a domi nant presence of Shari 'a, whereas the liberal and secular members were reluctant to amend Article 2 at all.351 The only solution was a compromise, which gave birth to Article 219. Article 219 defined the principles mentioned in Article 2 and attributed the role of defining these principles to al- Azhar, known for its moderate view of Islam, and not to the shaykhs suggested by the Salafis.352 This compromise did not receive a warm welcome among the majority of Salafi parties. In fact, most Salafis rejected the 2012 Constitution because they felt that it did not sufficiently protect Shari 'a.353 Al-Nür Party, as the largest and hence only Salafi party represented in the Constituent Assem bly, reluctantly accepted Article 219, even though it did not sufficiently satisfy the Salafi ideological goal. In negotiating with other political actors, al- Nür Party had been forced to make a political concession. In fact, according to Imäd ‘Abd al-Ghafür, leader of al-Watan Party, but presidential advisor and leader of al-Nür Party at the time of the constitutional debate, stated it was a good constitution that was written by a diverse group of Egyptians.354 349 Lombardi and Brown 2012. 350 Ibid. 351 Ibid. 352 Serödio 2012. 353 Lombardi and Brown, 2012; Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 354 Serödio 2012. 99 Al-Asäla, al-Fadila, al-Sha 'b Party, shaykh Häzim Saläh Abü Ism äil, and his supporters all opposed the Constitution and they may well have considered the concessions made by al-Nür Party as a sacrifice of the "Islamic Project." Nevertheless, despite the apparent Salafi disapproval of the draft constitu tion, the referendum passed with 63.8% approval rate,355 a figure that was used to illustrate Egypt's overall support of Shari 'a. Voter turnout, however, was only 32.9%,356 which indicates that the grand majority of Egyptians boycotted the referendum. While the other smaller Salafi parties openly rejected the Constitution, it is difficult to determine whether they actually voted against it, as well. Although Salafis would rather have seen an article that more clearly defined the principles of Shari 'a and that assigned Inter pretation of these principles to the shaykhs they trusted, the inclusion of Ar ticle 219 is in fact a step in the right direction of implementing the "Islamic Project." With Article 219, Salafis had succeeded in defining what the prin ciples of Shari 'a would be, albeit in broad and technical terms, and the ar ticle thereby strengthened the role of Shari 'a in the 2012 Egyptian Constitu tion in comparison to the previous constitution. The smaller Salafi parties may thus have been vocal in their rejection of the Constitution in order to gain more support among conservative Muslims who wished to see a more definitive article, but whether they actually voted against it as well, is diffi cult to determine. The 2012 constitutional debate illustrates how Salafi presence in a diverse multiparty system forced them to make political concessions, which impeded the desired progress toward implementation of the "Islamic Project." This suggests the difficulty of translating the strict Salafi ideology into a po litical agenda. 3.4.6.2 2012 Presidential Elections A decisive moment for al-Nür Party was during the 2012 presidential elec tions when they chose to support ‘ Abd al-Mun im Abü al-Futüh, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood and moderate Islamist, instead of shaykh Häzim Saläh Abü Ismä il. According to Nädir Bakkär, al-Nür Party backed al-Futüh because he met the minimum requirements for a president even though shaykh Häzim appeared to be the more likely choice because he identifies as a Salafi.357 For the grand majority of Salafi parties and Salafi followers, shaykh Häzim represented the "Islamic Project." His sole vision was the implementation of Shari 'a and creating an Islamic state in Egypt. 355 Egypt Independent 2012 (g). 356 Ibid. 357 Smit 2013 (c). 100 The lack of experience versus the correct Salafi identification is perfectly depicted in a statement made by shaykh Muhammad Saläh, who is not affiliated to any party in particular. He states that "[one] may be a physician and very religious, but being a physician or being able to manage [one's] own private clinic does not qualify [him] to be the minister of health."358 The fact that al-Nür Party considered shaykh Häzim's qualifications, or lack thereof, as a politician and as a president for all Egyptians to be more im portant than his commitment to the "Islamic Project" gave rise to controversy.359 Al-Nür Party understood the rules of the political system and made the required political concessions, but this was something that their followers did not understand, and it cost them a significant amount of support.360 In a letter written by Yäsir Burhämi, he referred to a conversation he had with high-ranking Salafi shaykh, ‘ Abd al-Rahmän ‘Abd al-Khäliq, who explained that "the situation is not suitable for an Islamist president. What we need is a devout president who will not fight Islam."361 This implies that al- Nür Party has adopted an approach that recognizes the need for patience and political pragmatism in stabilizing the Egyptian social and political arena first. The "Islamic Project" is a long-term goal, whose implementation cannot be guaranteed by simply supporting a presidential candidate who identifies as Salafi. The tension that surfaced during the 2012 presidential elections thereby suggest that Salafi political parties face challenges in committing to the "Islamic Project" while simultaneously taking the necessary political decisions in order to guarantee a stronger and more stable Egypt in the future. 3.4.6.3 The M aking and Breaking of Alliances Since the main goal of Salafi political parties is the implementation of the "Islamic Project" it often determines the alliances that are made and the projects on which a party chooses to focus. This once again suggests that a politically pragmatic approach in order to safeguard a future position in the political arena may be sacrificed for activities that can be carried out in the name of the "Islamic Project." Issäm al-Sharif of al-Asäla Party explains how it is of little relevance what party people support as long as it is an Islamist party.362 He adds that al- 358 Smit and Casper 2013. 359 Smit 2013 (c). 360 Drevon 2013. 361 Al-Burhämi 2012. 362 Smit and Casper 2013. 101 liances are not very important, as long as they are made for the greater goal of the "Islamic Project." He says: "As long as that flag is being raised, we'll stand behind it and work for it. [...] We want the application of Shari 'a; who is going to do it, doesn't matter."363 Similarly, leading al-Asäla figure, Häni Fawzi, states that because the party agenda is Islam ic," [they] must be con nected to Islamic parties. [...]. If an un-Islamic party is doing something good for our right, then that is good, but we do not make a connection with them."364 Regardless of their political position, Salafi parties work together on charity projects in order to strengthen the support for the "Islamic Project."365 This explains why Al-Asäla worked together with the FJP in Warräq despite al-Asäla identifying itself as in opposition to the then ruling FJP. Instead of strengthening its own position and working towards expanding a support base for Al-Asäla specifically, the party appears to be more concerned with the "Islamic Project" in general. It must be emphasized that Salafis have access to the masses. Already well before their political participation, Salafis had established charity hospitals around the country and devoted significant resources to social welfare projects, particularly in rural areas. As a result, Salafis have always had a large support base and continue to benefit from their effective methods of mobilizing this support. As long as Salafi parties are capable of mobilizing people, regardless of what party has the greatest number of members or supporters, there is likely to be some kind of Salafi representation in poli tics, which can subsequently safeguard any progress made towards imple mentation of the "Islamic Project." Nevertheless, this approach may still limit the alliances that are and can potentially be made with non-Islamist parties. Salafi parties are not the only actors on the political scene, hence concessions and negotiations must be made with other actors who may not believe in the same principles or whose policies are likely to be determined by a different end goal. Many smaller Salafi parties are dictated by religious convictions, and thus refuse cooperation with actors who do not strive for the creation of an Islamic state. However, negotiating and working together with these actors to maintain a legitimate and credible political position is of utmost importance, especially given the diversity of Egypt's political system. In short, political pragmatism is important for parties to guarantee their po sition in the political arena and adoption of a more inclusive approach would be sensible, but as long as the "Islamic Project" remains a priority, 363 Ibid. 364 Smit 2013 (a). 365 Ibid. 102 this is unlikely to happen. This suggests once again that the constant struggle between being politically pragmatic and thereby securing a position in the political arena, while at the same time maintaining a conservative religious identity challenges the future stability of any Salafi party. 3.5 Product of the Revolution The previous section has attempted to outline the struggle that exists be tween political Salafism and religious Salafism and the inevitable tension that this is likely to continuously generate. The second argument for assessing that the future shape and position of Salafi political parties is fragile at best is based on the notion that these parties are a product of the Revolu tion. Rather than having had the time to gradually become politicallyintegrated, Salafi parties were thrown headfirst into an environment considered revolutionary, with a support base of which the majority had not had a voice for decades but suddenly considered themselves a crucial component of the Revolution. This section illustrates the challenges faced by Salafi political parties because of their participation in a revolutionary environ ment as well as their adoption of a revolutionary frame of mind. 3.5.1 A Revolutionary Environment and Support Base Since the January 25 Revolution, there has been a strong tendency to take Egyptian politics to the streets. As a result, a Salafi support base has manifested itself which is increasingly rebellious in nature and which is likely to influence the decisions taken by any Salafi party that surfaced during or immediately after the January 25 Revolution. This is illustrated by examining the positions of al-Nür Party and al-Watan Party in the political scene. Al-Nür Party's official stance in a lot of instances appears to be more mod erate than the positions taken by smaller Salafi parties such as al-Sha 'b Par ty, al-Fadila Party, and al-Asäla Party because the party is, as already argued, more politically pragmatic. For example, al-Nür has refused to participate in numerous protests called for by other Salafi parties, such as the protests re jecting the 2012 draft constitution, the protests demanding the purging of the judiciary, and the protests to counter June 30, Tamarrud. After al-Watan Party was launched on January 1,2013, it also distanced itself from certain protests, including the early protests organized to counter Tamarrud. This was a pragmatic decision taken by both parties in which they may have considered the future importance of maintaining a moderate political posi tion. After July 3 however, al-Watan Party reconsidered their decision and adopted a more prominent stance in support of the FJP and the deposed former president, Mursi. Although al-Nür Party distances itself politically 103 from many protests, supporters and members of the party and al-Da 'wa al- Salafiyya have frequently been seen at those protests they officially claimed not to support.366 Khälid Mansür, frequently present at the protests, ex plains this is because "the people on the ground, the grassroots of al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya, whose structure is not solid like the Muslim Brotherhood, [...] do not have control over all their supporters. It's as simple as their suppor ters taking a taxi and joining the protests in Nasr City."367 This is supported by al-Nür Party spokesperson Nädir Bakkär, who maintains that the party and al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya cannot stop all their members from joining protests despite their open rejection of certain protests.368 Another possible explana tion is that the party depends on that part of the population that became vocal only after the Revolution and who continue to make revolutionary demands in the streets. In order to appease this support base, al-Nür may thus opt to still have a representation at some of the protests it has officially rejected. Either way, the on-going revolutionary environment of Egypt is bound to influence political parties. The reason to continuously take politics to the street can also be considered as a reflection of the lack of political experience of both the Salafi political parties as well as their support base. As mentioned above, political participation was completely new to this part of Egyptian society. In order not to loose the momentum created by the January 25 Revolution, the now politi cally active Salafis threw themselves head first into the political arena of which they had no previous experience whatsoever. As explained by Muhammad Saläh, political participation could be simply by voting or preparing ourselves for the next five, ten, or twenty years because we are not in a hurry. That way we can present qualified and experienced people, instead of presenting people who are handicapped.369 Instead, parties were created, a Salafi presidential candidate was presented and a support base was formed, all in a revolutionary environment in which the main actors were acutely unaware of what politics actually meant. Saläh again explains how "Salafis had zero [political] experience. [ . ] They can [ . ] supervise from a distance, but they should not be in the front row."370 366 Sabry 2013. 367 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 368 Smit 2013 (c). 369 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 370 Ibid. 104 Since Salafi parties are trapped in this revolutionary environment, they may be required to give in to some of the demands made by a support base that continues to take politics to the streets. Al-Nür Party has lost support because it has not always represented itself as revolutionary as some of the other Salafi parties by showing their support in protests.371 It thus appears as though Salafi parties are forced to balance a political identity with a reli gious identity, in addition to a revolutionary identity. The tricky position in which the Salafi parties now find themselves is an inevitable result of them never having had the chance to grow naturally and create a support base that is more loyal to the party and its political ideas rather than to the Revo lution. 3.5.2 The Revolutionary Character of Salafi Political Parties In the environment ofrevolution, where there are no standards, rules and regulations, you lose respect.372 Many of the political parties in Egypt consider themselves revolutionary. Many parties were formed after the January 25 Revolution and claim to be striving for the goals of the Revolution - bread, freedom, and social justice. Arguably, the Salafi political parties have an even stronger revolutionary identity and can be considered a ground-breaking product of the Revolu tion. Their very presence on the political playing field is revolutionary because it is unprecedented and it shows the extent to which now political Salafis have radically revised their ideas and adapted to the new situation. This gives every Salafi political party a particularly distinct revolutionary identity. Nevertheless, some Salafi parties are more revolutionary and radical373 than others and have taken on an uncompromising, and sometimes extreme, po sition in the political arena. These parties are al-Räya, al-Sha b, al-Asäla, al- Fadila, and al-Isläh. As already illustrated, al-Nür Party is politically too pragmatic and compromising to be added to this list. Al-Watan Party is somewhere in between - before June 30 the party was pragmatic in allying with the FJP despite criticism that the ruling party was keeping the corrupt system in place. In the post-Mursi era however, al-Watan Party has sacrificed this pragmatism and taken on an uncompromising position towards 371 Drevon 2013; Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (h). 372 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (g). 373 Note that radical here does not necessarily refer to religious beliefs or a religious agenda. It refers instead to the extremity with which they wish to see the goals of January 25 Revolution materialised and the former regime punished. 105 the interim regime thereby siding completely with the smaller Salafi parties mentioned above. These smaller and particularly revolutionary Salafi parties believe in the need to deal with the previous Mubärak regime in a radical way, which includes the purging of the entire system and banning any member of the previous regime from participating in politics.374 These parties opposed the FJP before June 30 because they considered it to work within the old system without attempting to drastically reform it. Mansür states that al-Isläh Party wanted "the restructuring of the ministry, getting people of the old regime out of everything and putting them in prison. [They] wanted serious cases against them [...] and [they] also wanted to achieve all the goals of the revolution."375 Fathi of al-Fadila Party describes the performance of President Mursi and his government as "w eak" and "less than [their] expectations" because they do not deal with the previous regime on a revolutionary ba sis.376 In his opinion, "the successful revolutions are those that deal with the previous regime on a very clear, what they deserve basis, as for example, the French Revolution and the slaughter of the opposition and the Iranian Revolution and the jailing of the previous regime."377 The revolutionary mindset of the Salafi parties also clearly came to the forefront in April 2013, during the debate regarding the purging of the judiciary. The parties that were participating in these rallies were al-Asäla, al- Räya, al-Watan, al-Sha b, and al-Isläh. These parties were particularly vocal in stating that all the judges suspected of supporting Mubärak needed to be removed.378 They demanded that the retirement age was lowered in order to force out the older generation of judges with alleged ties to the former Mubärak regime. A more realistic, but less revolutionary, demand would have been to lower the retirement age across the entire political and eco nomic spectrum instead of targeting just the judiciary - a suggestion made by an anonymous former member of al-Watan Party, who later left politics because he could not agree with some of the decisions that were being made in his party.379 Jerome Drevon, a PhD researcher studying Islamist groups in Egypt, suggested that perhaps the most revolutionary and radical Salafi party is al- 374 Smit 2013 (b); Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (h, i). 375 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 376 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (h). 377 Ibid. 378 Smit 2013 (b); Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (h). 379 Smit 2013 (d). 106 Räya, founded by shaykh Häzim Saläh Abü Ism äil.380 Shaykh Häzim was very vocal in the early days of the January 25 Revolution and was consi dered one of the biggest supporters of the Revolution.381 Drevon explained that this has made him extremely popular, particularly among the Salafi youth who took to the streets en masse in the early days of the Revolu tion.382 Fathi, who supported shaykh Häzim during the presidential elec tions, further emphasized this idea, stating, "shaykh Häzim was clearly the most revolutionary candidate among all. [ . ] [He] has always stood firm on the clear position of the Revolution hence he has garnered a huge popula tion in the country."383 His followers are referred to as Häzimün and are often the youth who are not part of any other movement.384 Häzim has frequently called for protests to counter what he considers the opposition's attempts to boycott Islamist efforts to rule the country. For example, in March 2013, Häzim called for a siege of the liberal parties' headquarters and the Egyptian Media Production City in response to the liberals' opposi tion to the Muslim Brotherhood and the media's bias against Islamists.385 In the words of a member of the Häzimün support group, "burning hypocrisy city [Egyptian Media Production City] is a revolutionary action. Glory to peacefulness."386 A significant number of the Salafi and Islamist youth consider themselves revolutionaries and therefore find a perfect role model in Häzim.387 In fact, before the events of June 30, Jerome Drevon predicted Häzim could easily win around 15-20 percent of the votes during the next parliamentary elec tions.388 As a result of this popularity, smaller parties such as al-Sha 'b and al-Fadila wanted to merge with Häzim's party in order to benefit from the party's large support base.389 Additionally, al-Watan Party tried to ally with shaykh Häzim and there were also rumors that 150 members of al-Nür Party resigned to join al-Räya immediately after the party was founded.390 These 380 Hulsman, Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (a). 381 Lacroix 2012, 7. 382 Hulsman, Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (a). 383 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (h). 384 Hulsman, Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (a). 385 Enein 2013. 386 Ibid. 387 Hulsman, Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (a); Lacroix 2012, 8. 388 Hulsman, Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (a). 389 Fady 2013; Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (h). 390 Fady 2013. 107 developments suggest that Häzim's popularity among the Islamist revolutionary youth made him a crucial ally for a number of Salafi parties. Although Häzim is considered extremely charismatic - apart from his call for the continuation of the Revolution and for the implementation of Islam ic law - he has no vision for the future of the party or a well-formulated po litical policy.391 He appears to have no real economic or political agenda. Drevon predicted that despite a large backing, Häzim and his al-Räya Party would lose all popular and political support in five years' time, a period lasting from 2011-2016, because of the complete absence of a real party pro gram.392 Nädir Bakkär of al-Nür Party agreed with Drevon's opinion and expected that" [Häzim's] party will fail with the people. [ . ] He is the oneman show style, without any real team around him ."393 In the aftermath of Mursi's deposal, Häzim has been arrested and accused of inciting violence. With Häzim Saläh Abü Ismä il currently in jail, al-Räya Party is missing its main component and unless Häzim returns, the party is likely to gradually lose momentum and eventually disappear from the scene altogether. 3.5.3 Im plications of Being a Product of the Revolution Being a product of the Revolution essentially implies that Salafi parties were born out of a struggle; Salafis came out to fight for freedom and equality during the Revolution. Since the January 25 Revolution and after the decision to participate politically, Salafis have gained a more legitimate place in Egyptian society.394 Although this was a positive development for Salafis, their mentality ap pears to be one in which they continue to build on the notion of a revolutionary struggle. This is indicated by Khälid Mansür from al-Isläh Party when he explains that "when [they] joined the January 25 Revolution, [they] knew most of [them] would die on the streets, but [they] had a clear objective for which [they] were going to struggle."395 Mansür explains how in the post-June 30 setting Salafis are again forced to struggle for their rights. He adds that they will continue "struggling" in order to protect their position and make their demands heard.396 This epitomizes the revolutionary mindset that dominates a grand majority of Salafi political participants. As long as they maintain that the Revolution is incomplete, their 391 Smit 2013 (d); Hulsman, Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (a). 392 Hulsman, Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (a). 393 Smit 2013 (c). 394 Smit 2013 (d). 395 Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (i). 396 Ibid. 108 struggle is justified. And as long as there is a struggle in which they identify themselves as the victim, they have a way of justifying their unwillingness to negotiate with other players. Mansür believes that the deposal of Mursi is a coup, and therefore they do not "have the space to sit with them [the opposition] or start any negotiations unless there are clear objectives that [they] can meet."397 As long as they can argue that the liberal opposition, the police force, the army and the judiciary are against Islamists, their struggle becomes one in which they must continue to fight for the rights of Islamists. Salafi parties are thereby able to benefit from a political environ ment where much of the discourse creates a sense of division between Is lamists and non-Islamists because it enables them to carry forward their struggle with the new voice their political participation has created. Nevertheless, Salafi parties need to partially amend this struggle mentality and find a way to negotiate with the other political players in order to ensure that they will have a legitimate position in the future political arena. Egyptians are generally starting to get weary of the instability of the last years and the volatile economic and political landscape. There is a dire need for reconciliation, but instead the majority of Salafi political parties are prolonging their struggle and thereby playing an important role in perpetuating the polarization that grips Egypt. In the long run, this struggle cannot withstand the presumably stronger demand for stability and it is possible that support will gradually wane for those Salafi parties that continue to refuse negotiations and concessions. Noteworthy is that the Salafi parties are not the only ones playing a role in prolonging the conflict. Salafi political parties are participating in an envi ronment that is dominated by a strong anti-Islamist sentiment emanating largely from the "deep state," which refers to the state bureaucracy and in stitutions that have been in place since the time of Mubärak (arguably dating back to the time of al-Näsir already) including for example the security forces, military intelligence and the judiciary. The "deep state" is apprehensive of any kind of change, and Salafis have subsequently faced opposition since the day they became politically active.398 Although political Salafis in particular may be lacking an inclusive approach, this appears to be the case for Egypt's political scene in general, whether the actors are liberal or secular, the Muslim Brothers, the judiciary or the former regime. One side's pol icy of exclusion thus perpetuates the other's and it is too simple to say that the Salafi political parties must end their struggle and embrace a more in clusive approach in which they recognize the need to negotiate with all ac- 397 Ibid. 398 Hubbard and Kirkpatrick 2013; Smit and Kasanwidjojo 2013 (h). 109 tors. This is made nearly impossible given the nature of Egypt's political system. Nevertheless, by calling for the purging of the former regime and the judiciary, and by denying any remnant of the former regime to be politically active, the smaller Salafi parties are creating the impression that they refuse to seek a path towards stability. In addition, this type of rhetoric empowers the trend of suppression and tyranny. It is a radical and revolutionary way of punishing everything and everyone related to the former regime. On a political level, this means there is little room for negotiations or peace build ing, and this mentality is thus unlikely to be capable of sustaining a large support base in the long run. In a country that is already so politically divided, it is only likely to prolong the struggle and deepen the rifts in socie ty. 3.6 Conclusion This chapter has attempted to illustrate that the Salafi political parties are likely to face many challenges in the future, particularly as a result of an in herent struggle between religious Salafism and political Salafism. The chal lenges are further complicated by the parties' need to find a politically pragmatic approach that does not undermine their revolutionary identity. A significant proportion of Egypt's population identifies with one or more of the Salafi parties and feels like his or her rights may now finally be acknowledged. As a result, Salafi political participation has become an impor tant factor in Egypt's post-January 25 setting. Nevertheless, a struggle is born when the politically inexperienced Salafi parties place such great importance on their ideological goal before first ascertaining a stable political position. This struggle will prove difficult to overcome. Salafi political par ties, especially the smaller parties such as al-Fadila, al-Asäla and al-Watan that have no significant constituency nor mother organization, are ultimately dependent on shaykhs for mobilizing support. At the same time however, creating an influential role for shaykhs is likely to prevent these parties from truly embracing their political role. Being politically pragmatic and accepting to play according to the, at times, dirty rules of the political arena is the only way these parties can guarantee their future position in the political scene. Playing this game how-ever, stands in stark contrast with what they must do to remain faithful to their Salafi identity and guarantee a large support base from among the religiously conservative Egyptian masses. A stable political future for the Salafi parties requires that a balance be found between being politically pragmatic, while simultaneously maintaining a conservative religious identity. It appears as though this will continue to pose challenges given the seeming unwillingness to sacrifice part of their 110 ideological goal or make concessions to the "Islamic Project" for the sake of appeasing other political actors. An extra challenge is added to this when considering the revolutionary en vironment in which the Salafi parties find themselves. The majority of politically-active Salafis are revolutionaries, which implicates their role as politicians; they cannot negotiate about the demands of the Revolution as politicians would without sacrificing part of their identity as revolutionaries. Additionally, their support base consists mainly of Salafi individuals who equally consider themselves revolutionaries, and playing the politician card would thus likely cost them supporters. Their revolutionary mindset is largely influenced by a struggle mentality, which limits the extent to which these parties are capable of embra-cing a politically pragmatic approach in order to negotiate and cooperate with other political actors. Although the Egyptian political landscape largely blocks any such approach, regardless of whether there is desire to adopt it, it appears as though Salafi political parties need to somewhat readjust their revolutionary rhetoric in order to make room for a more moderate political approach that is both realistic and more representative of all Egyptians. At the same time, such a shift in rhetoric is risky because it may create a more detached support base that sees this shift as an abandonment of the Revolu tion. Salafi parties are again faced with a dilemma and because they are a product of the Revolution, and essentially owe their entire existence to the Revolution, this dilemma will prove difficult to overcome. Despite the many challenges outlined in this chapter, a positive develop ment must be mentioned, as well. By having become politically active, Salafis have shown to be capable of flexibility and mobility, two traits that are not normally associated with the image of the conservative Salafi. Since the January 25 Revolution, Salafis have, time and again, demonstrated their ability to redefine certain values and beliefs in order to move along with the political process. The very fact that they have become politically active and accepted to work within and towards a more inclusive and democratic sys tem is indicative of this. This suggests that Salafis are very much able to adapt to their environment and are still searching for ways to navigate through the political arena in order to secure their political position while simultaneously staying on the most direct path towards their ideological goal - the "Islamic Project." Concluding from this research, al-Nür Party is the most pragmatic Salafi party in the field with the most secured political position. Al-Nür Party plays the political game and has made concessions and alliances that have cost it support, but that have at least protected their legitimate position in the political arena. Moreover, al-Nür has the backing of al-Da 'wa al-Salafiyya, 111 which provides it with the religious credibility it needs in order to benefit from a still significant number of followers. Other Salafi parties may have won more followers after June 30, but in refusing to recognize the interim government and rejecting calls for reconciliation, they risked their legitimate position in the political arena and were thereby unable to support al- Nür in their attempt to further the steps that can be made toward the "Is lamic Project." Given the volatility of the political arena however, one can do little more than hypothesize. However, it is sufficient to assert that Salafi political par ties are facing significant challenges in finding a clear balance between po litical pragmatism and religious conservatism and in turn combining this with the appropriate amount of revolutionary spirit. Salafi parties thereby find themselves in a precarious position whose future shape is not at all certain. Not only is the political position of Salafi parties fragile, it appears as though these challenges will also obstruct the steps that can be made in the direction of the "Islamic Project"- their very justification for existence. 112

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Abstract

In 2013, a group of researchers had the unique chance to interview 61 Egyptian Islamists and their opponents both prior to and after Egypt’s military ousted President Mursī on July 3. Up to that time, Islamists with very different political perspectives were hopeful that they would be able to realize the implementation of sharīa and to create a utopian Islamic state. After the coup, many of them rejected the transformation and a number became involved in militant attacks on police, military and the judiciary. This resulted in harsh government responses. Their criticism has been muted, but they still exist. The interviews document authentic voices during this period of major political transformations. A must read for anyone who wants to understand contemporary Egypt.