Egypt’s future is rooted in Islam, the religion and way of life of its people
As the situation in Egypt intensifies after decades of oppression by successive regimes, we are in a position where we can discuss the potential scenario after the Muslim rulers have been removed and replaced. Until now the brutal rule by the corrupt regimes managed to contain most attempts at their rule through a secret service that ensured any move for change was crippled before it gained any momentum. The events in Tunisia have reverberated around the Arab world and are now simmering in Egypt, the Arab world’s largest country.
Whilst the masses in Egypt have been galvanised for regime change it is only a matter of time before the Mubarak regime will be removed, with this in mind the state of affairs after the Mubarak regime is placed in the dustbin of history needs to be outlined as otherwise there is the real possibility that the call for change is hijacked by foreign powers. William Hague British foreign secretary of the UK was in Syria just this week, a country that will most likely be next in line for change. Mohamed ElBaradei has returned to Egypt with some questionable ambitions. The Egyptian Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Sami Annan was in Washington on January 24th 2011 heading a high ranking military delegation. The top-ranking US envoy for the Middle East, Jeffrey Feltman, was the first foreign official to arrive in Tunisia after president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted.
With this in mind 3 policy area are outlined for a new future for Egypt:
Economic Stability – Egypt has suffered from massive mismanagement for the last few decades. According to the World Bank 40% of the Egyptian population, some 30.8 million people, live in poverty. Egypt’s economy has been ruined largely by the self-destructive policies of successive regimes. Egypt has also suffered disastrously under IMF and World Bank reforms, Egypt was forced to cut food subsidies and restructure the economy towards services and tourism. The Egyptian economy and its structure is its biggest problem as it is not geared towards Egypt’s natural strengths of agriculture and manufacturing.
In the 1960s Egypt was self sufficient in wheat, grains etc. to satisfy the needs of its population. In the 1990’s under IMF and World Bank pressure Egypt was forced to restructure its economy through increasing exports and reducing the reliance on agriculture. Since 2000 Egypt has suffered form numerous food riots as the nation once self sufficient in food became dependent on food imports. Food imports have also led to the Egyptian people to be exposed to rising food prices as financial markets have moved to speculating on commodities. Today Egypt produces 8 million tons of wheat per year, which falls far short of the 14 million tons required to feed its 80 million people. The difference is made up by imported wheat from the US, financed by aid money.
Under the Khilafah the Suez canal, in which 5% of the worlds oil passes and is considered a choke point. Egypt could charge for cargo to pass and refine the crude oil that passes through its ports which would bring in billion of dollars to the treasury. Egypt today has 9 oil refineries producing 710,000 barrels per day of crude oil, this can be significantly increased.
In agriculture the desert farm lands which were offered regularly at different levels and prices were restricted to a limited group of elites selected very carefully, who later profiteered retailing the granted large desert farm land. This transformed the desert farms to tourist resorts. The Khilafah will increase domestic agricultural production and end the country being a market for US agriculture. It is only current government policy that has made Egypt reliant upon imports.
Accountable government – In the 1880s, Egypt was unable to repay its debts and as a result the British Empire, its largest lender, used this an excuse to occupy Egypt for the next half century. Britain appointed proxy rulers who were loyal to her until the US emerged as the world’s power after WW2 it gained influence over Egypt and the loyalty of successive rulers. The Egyptian regime normalized relations with Israel and clamped down upon any sign of Islamic resurgence. Egypt’s long line of rulers have always been propped up by an external powers and thus have never been representative of the people and therefore are never accountable to their own people. Foreign powers have funded and armed the regime and kept their loyalty.
Under the Khilafah the ruler is elected by the people and represents the people. Any foreign influence warrants his removal. Practically accountability will be through the Majlis al-Ummah, an elected council whose members can be Muslim, non-Muslim, men or women. These members represent the interests of their constituencies within the Khilafah. The majlis has no legislative powers but it does have many powers that act as a counterbalance to the executive powers of the Khaleefah. The Majlis has the right to construct a list of candidates for the post of the Khaleefah.
Vision – The Muslims have an illustrious history in Africa, this is why 52% of Africa’s population today is comprised of Muslims. Islam came to North Africa after Al Sham came under Islam. Islam’s initial launch pad into the continent was through the conquest of Egypt. Egypt was inhabited by a mixture of people, such as Copts, Jews and Romans. Similarly North Africa was where the Berbers lived under Roman dominance. The Romans viewed Africa as their colony and through patron rulers it maintained its grip on the continent. An official campaign to conquer North Africa began in 663, and the Muslims soon controlled most major cities in Libya. Tripoli fell in 666 and by 670, the Muslims had taken Tunisia. The Maghreb territory consists of present-day Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, and was collectively known as the Byzantine province of Africa eventually capitulated and sent shockwaves across the Roman territories. The loss of Egypt, which was the breadbasket for the Roman Empire, was a loss the Romans never recovered from.
The Muslims constructed the city of Qairouan (roughly eighty miles south of modern Tunis). This city became the capital of Islamic Africa. Initially the location of a military base, like many bases these became cities and centers of learning. The Al Qayeawm mosque (Jamil Uqba) was constructed by the Muslims and it became established as a centre of learning throughout the Islamic lands. It was the New Muslims of North Africa that took Islam to Europe. The Berber turned Muslim Tariq Bin Ziyad led an army across the straits of Gibraltar that began Islam’s illustrious history in Europe.
Whilst successive rulers in North Africa sold the people to Western interests Islam turned the region in the past to a centre of learning and the door way to Europe. It is this vision the Khilafah would bring to Egypt as it did in the past. The Khilafah will not be a subservient slave to Imperial powers but have global ambitions as it did in the past giving the people of the region a vision for the world.
Pressure has now built to unprecedented levels in the Muslim world and now these regimes are offering a few crumbs to appease the people and buy them off, hoping they’ll settle for something cosmetic that will appear like a victory but will only uphold the status quo of the ugly regime. Perhaps the regime will offer a few reforms, some handouts of money or food, the promise of an election or even a new face to replace the old tyrant but who will continue to oppress them and prevent the real solution for the disastrous situation to emerge. Real change does not come through a change of faces. It doesn’t come from a plodding reform. It is sudden, it is sweeping, it is uncompromising and it is comprehensive. Genuine change is to remove the systems of kufr in our lands once and for all. Genuine change is to return to what the people of the region have lived under the Khilafah for over a thousand years. Genuine change is for the Ummah to liberate herself from the shackles of its oppressors and return again to living under the shade of the Islamic Khilafah state.