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Cablegate: Election Platform of the Muslim Brotherhood:

VZCZCXRO9052
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #2147/01 1920957
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 110957Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6088
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 CAIRO 002147

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR WATERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KISL KDEM EG
SUBJECT: ELECTION PLATFORM OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD:
POLITICAL ISSUES

REF: A. CAIRO 1717
B. 2006 CAIRO 6963
C. CAIRO 1128
D. CAIRO 144

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.

1. (SBU) Summary: In early June, the Egyptian Muslim
Brotherhood (MB) released a 39-page platform in advance of
the June 11 Shura Council elections, detailing the group's
views on issues ranging from tourism to Copts. The MB
document offers an unprecedented detailing of a consolidated
MB position on a range of hot-button issues. Embassy
contacts report that leading MB members such as Gamal Heshmat
have asserted that this platform will serve as the basis for
a soon-to-be-released broader MB party platform. The
complete Shura elections platform can be found at the MB's
English-language website, www.ikhwanweb.com. This cable
reports on the political aspects of the MB document, while a
septel report focuses on the MB's stated economic policies.
While the document consistently emphasizes the centrality of
a full range of political and religious freedoms, it also
signals a potentially contradictory commitment to more
robustly implementing shari'a (Islamic law). The platform
takes a hard line on Israel, calling for severing all ties
(signaling an implicit abrogation of the Camp David accords)
and an economic boycott. End summary.

----------------------------------------
ENCOURAGING NOISES ON FREEDOMS AND COPTS
----------------------------------------

2. (U) Recurring themes throughout the lengthy platform
emphasize the centrality of freedom of faith, freedom of
association and protest, freedom of speech, and the freedom
to establish political parties through notification, rather
than through the approval of the Political Parties Committee
(as is currently the sole means by which to form a party in
Egypt). The platform stresses an egalitarian approach to
Egypt's Copts, in an apparent effort to assuage Christian
fears about the MB. It asserts, "our Coptic brothers are
part of the fabric of Egyptian society, and our partners in
our homeland and its destiny. They are equal to their Muslim
brothers in all rights and duties, in assuming public offices
based on professionalism and specialization ... Freedom of
faith and worship is respectable to all. Cooperation is a
necessity."

3. (U) After declaring, "God created man free, and shari'a
guarantees freedom for each man. It has also pledged
equality regardless of color, faith, gender, or ethnicity,"
the platform delineates a menu of freedoms, including,
"freedom of faith, freedom of living, freedom to move,
travel, and work, freedom to own a home." It goes on to
stress political liberties: "Everyone is free to practice
basic political and social freedoms, as long as he/she is an
Egyptian citizen. These freedoms include freedom of opinion
and expression, freedom of assembly and peaceful
demonstrations, freedom of political action, freedom to form
parties, the right of peaceful rotation of power through
direct secret balloting, right to receive a trial before a
civilian judge, not under Emergency laws." In the midst of
this positive language, the platform stipulates, "free
expression should not contradict divine religions and human
rights conventions." The document also notes that "the
penalty of imprisonment should be abolished from
press-related laws" and that, "the blogging movement in Egypt
should be supported as a window to free expression."

--------------
VIEWS ON WOMEN
--------------

4. (U) The platform states, "under shari'a, a women has equal
rights to a man. She has a full and independent financial
identity, and the full right to deal with her property
according to shari'a. Even the differences between men and
women under shari'a emerge from their different natures and
social roles rather than discrimination." The document
advocates "increasing female voter participation" and
"increasing the number of women elected to local councils and
the parliament." It also calls for "eliminating female
illiteracy in rural areas," and the provision of legal
protections and health insurance to female Egyptian farmers.

----------------------------------------
ISLAMIC STATE AS "CIVIL STATE," JUDICIAL
INDEPENDENCE AND SHARI'A

CAIRO 00002147 002 OF 003


----------------------------------------

5. (U) The platform asserts, "the Islamic state is
necessarily a civil state. 'Civil' rejects sacredness and
the clerical identity of the state, but maintains an Islamic
identity. It is a state where the ruler and the nation
integrate. The nation elects its ruler and it has the right
to hold him accountable and remove him if needed. So, he is
a civilian ruler in every regard." Other concepts stressed
throughout the platform are the necessity of abrogating
Egypt's Emergency laws, the release of political detainees,
and military courts being used only to try "military-related
crimes or soldiers." The platform offers a detailed
wish-list of enhancements to judicial independence, including
the passage of a new judicial authorities law, the use of
civil judges (vice military) in all civilian cases, and the
abolition of the state security prosecution. In an
indication of a focus on more robust enforcement of Article 2
of the Egyptian constitution, the platform notes the need to,
"amend laws and make them accordant with Islamic shari'a as,
in compliance with Article 2 of the constitution, it is the
main source of legislation." (Note: Article 2 of the
constitution reads: "Islam is the religion of the state ...
the principal source of legislation is Islamic shari'a." End
note.)

6. (U) The platform states that full judicial supervision is
essential to conducting free and fair elections in Egypt. It
notes that, "the party that wins the greatest numbers of
votes in free, fair elections is the one that shall assume
power and form the cabinet." With an eye to the looming
presidential succession, the platform asserts, "succession to
power should be through direct, free public ballot, under the
full supervision of the judiciary." The MB also calls for a
two-term presidential term limit, and for "restricting the
powers of the president because he is the representative of
all Egyptians."

------------------------------------
SOUR NOTES ON ISRAEL, AND "ILLNESSES
IN EGYPTIAN SOCIETY"
------------------------------------

7. (U) In contrast with previous public statements by MB
leaders that the Camp David accords should be put to a
national referendum (for example, the late 2006 comments by
MB Deputy Supreme Guide Mohamed Habib, as reported ref B),
the platform takes an unyielding hard line on Arab-Israeli
issues. It states, "the Zionist enemy wants more
normalization of ties with the Arab states ... in order to
fulfill their dream of establishing Greater Israel from the
Nile to the Euphrates. We therefore believe in the necessity
of halting all forms of normalization and severing all ties
with the Zionist entity, and to consider an economic boycott
as the least of our duties regarding this issue." The
platform also calls on Arab and Islamic countries to, "work
together to confront the challenge of the American plan to
submit all Arab and Islamic countries to US domination -
culturally, politically, and socially - and that calls for
fragmentation of the region and re-drawing it in accordance
with Zionist-American interests." The MB advocates for an
"immediate U.S. and British withdrawal from Iraq," and an
Egyptian focus on cultivating Arab, African, and Islamic
relations, as well as a broader international axis based on
the non-aligned movement.

8. (U) In a paragraph likely to unnerve more secular
Egyptians, the platform notes that, "illnesses" have emerged
in Egyptian society, including "material values and negative
ethics." The document stresses the need to rejuvenate the
true "Egyptian personality," by "reviving good values and
ethics emerging from deep faith in God .. maintaining ethics
using all means possible (media, education, culture, and law)
... urging people to abide by worshipping, adhering to good
principles," and "clearing the media of all that contradicts
the stipulations of Islam, morals, and common sense." The
platform, sounding a somewhat ominous note, asserts that,
"there should be reconsideration of the current management of
Egyptian cultural life, so as to be more harmonious with the
Egyptian identity, in the face of threats of intellectual
invasion and chaos ..."

----------------------------------
EXPLAINING "ISLAM IS THE SOLUTION"
----------------------------------

9. (U) The platform poses the question "why is 'Islam the
Solution'?," basing the query on the MB's decades-old

CAIRO 00002147 003 OF 003


recognizable slogan. The detailed answer states:

- "Because the Islamic approach has the potential for reform
... Unique ethical values prevail, and every man wishes for
his brother what he wants for himself ...."

- "Because the Islamic system reinforces man's dignity
without discrimination due to color, sex or faith."

- "Because Islam establishes the Shura principle that
respects the citizens will in selecting their representatives
in all official institutions, whether in the executive
branch, professional syndicates, or social societies. Islam
also stipulates the right of the people to hold their
representatives accountable for their actions ...."

- "Because Islam has Shari'a that constitutes a framework for
progress and reform ...."

- "Islam has to have a state that establishes, protects, and
abides by its system, similar to the liberal solution that
should have a state that establishes, protects and abides by
its system ...."

- "Islam rejects religious authority in its theocratic
conception, which is wrongly understood by the West as ruling
by divine right. The state in Islam is a civil one, with the
nation having a system and institutions based on the nation
being the source of power ... The ruler's authority is based
on a social contract between the ruler and the ruled that
should be evaluated by the nation and its civil institutions
..."

-------
COMMENT
-------

10. (SBU) The issuance of the Shura elections platform allows
the MB to counter long-standing criticism that there is no
official platform that clarifies the group's policy views.
While the document delineates a unified MB position on a
variety of issues, it leaves many topics unaddressed (i.e.,
use of alcohol, wearing of the "hijab" (veil), building of
churches, terrorism), and only shallowly touches on others
(i.e., women's rights, tourism, foreign policy). A fuller
picture of the MB's views may emerge should the group issue
its anticipated party platform, which is likely to be more
detailed. While the MB's Shura platform is reassuring on
some topics, such as Coptic rights, many secular Egyptians
will doubtless continue to be skeptical of the MB's
credibility on such issues, troubled by the opaqueness of the
MB's position on implementation of shari'a, and unconvinced
of the group's commitment to abiding by the platform it has
outlined.
RICCIARDONE

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