RECOMMENDED READING: “Khairat al-Shater on “The Nahda Project”By
The Hudson Institute has published an important translation of a lecture given by Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Khairat Al-Shater (aka Khairat El-Shater) on April 21, 2011 whose titled is translated as “Features of Nahda: Gains of the Revolution and the Horizons for Developing.” The preface to the translation correctly characterizes the lecture as “perhaps the single most important elaboration to date of not only Al-Shater’s worldview and politics, but of the MB’s plan for the future of Egypt and the region more generally in the post-Mubarak era.” According to the translator’s notes:
Translator’s Note: After his release from prison in March 2011, the Deputy Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Khairat Al-Shater was reportedly tasked by the Brotherhood’s Guidance Council to perform a comprehensive review of the movement’s overall strategy in post-Mubarak Egypt. This new strategy, which is supposed to reflect the fact of the MB’s rise as the most powerful political force in Egypt today, has often been referred to as “The Nahda Project.” (Nahda means “Renaissance” or “Rise”.) We know very little about Al-Shater as politician. He has been described as the “Iron Man” of the Brotherhood movement. As one of Egypt’s most successful businessmen, his prestigious stature within the MB’s ranks might be attributed to his financial support to the movement. His prestige also derives from the enormous personal suffering that he has endured for the MB’s cause: He has spent more than half of the past two decades in prison, and his property has been confiscated twice in the same period. Al-Shater, moreover, has very strong business ties across the region: in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among other places. He is also said to be a major supporter of Hamas. When the Muslim Brotherhood sought to bring down the present Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri and his cabinet, it was not surprising that their nominee for the office was Khairat Al-Shater. When, more recently, the Brotherhood failed to force their will on the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the movement decided to renege on all of their reassuring promises since the outbreak of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 and run a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. Once more, this candidate was Khairat Al-Shater. Therefore, the importance of Al-Shater and his project cannot be exaggerated. The following text is a complete English translation of a lecture Al-Shater gave in Alexandria, Egypt on April 21, 2011. The lecture, which is entitled “Features of Nahda: Gains of the Revolution and the Horizons for Developing,” is perhaps the single most important elaboration to date of not only Al-Shater’s worldview and politics, but of the MB’s plan for the future of Egypt and the region more generally in the post-Mubarak era. The following translation of Al-Shater’s speech is based on a transcription of a video recording of the lecture, available at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnSshs2qzrM. This transcription and translation is made available through the efforts of a team from the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth, including (as transcriber) Ahmed Ragab Mohameed, (translator) Damien Pieretti, and (editor) Amr Bargisi.
Al-Shater’s translated lecture begins:
First of all I would like to direct my thanks to my mentors and Ikhwan in Alexandria for this audience and reception, with thanks due to Ustath Gum’a Amin, Deputy General Guide and our mentor for a long time, and to all of our mentors in Alexandria, and likewise to our sisters in the Administrative Office, thanks to all of you , and may God reward you well and bless you, and accept your deeds and ours. I truly feel great happiness to have this meeting today with my brothers in Alexandria, after prisons have deprived us for a long time from meeting you and enjoying your company, and this was bestowed upon us by God after the success of the great revolution of this kind and blessed people, so may got reward you well. Our talk today is about the developing of Ikhwani work. As you all know that His Grace the [General] Guide and the Guidance Bureau charged me with the supervision over the issue of developing Ikhwani Work. This matter, as you all know, is an imperative and continuous one. We were taught that Ihsan is an important degree in the life of the Muslim which he constantly seeks by pursuing the causes for improving [one's] work up to the highest degree of mastery. We were also taught that wisdom is the believer’s objective, wherever he finds it he is the most worthy of it. And, we were taught that the mercy of God comes to him who came to know his times, so that his path became straightforward. Therefore one’s [i.e. our] approach, while keeping faith in the General Rules of the Islamic method, is to continuously examine reality and the changes he or his Ummah experience, or that occur in his life or in that of the Gama’a, so as to pursue the causes which render his methods, manners and means compatible with this reality; benefitting from all its positive changes while minimizing the effects of its negative changes.
Read the rest here.
GMBDW note: This is a key document to understanding the significance of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s ascendance over the last year. Unlike other Brotherhood-related documents, such as “The Project” found in the home of Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Nada, neither the source nor the importance of the source is in question. The lecture is quite long but is best read in its entirety. That said, it is clear from the lecture that the leadership of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood views its entry into politics as only a stage in furtherance of its ultimate goals of Islamic government, both on an Egyptian and global basis.
For a piece on Al-Shater’s finances, go here.
For a profile of Al-Shater, go here.