The situation that has prevailed in Egypt for past half century, if not more, has seen suffocating security measures, considerable police powers and limited accountability of the country’s enforcement agencies. The 30 year long ‘emergency’ laws that became the norm under Mubarak allowed the already considerable powers to expand, emboldened the police and security to take the law into their own hands and created an environment which eroded the populations’ basic rights to account, speak and practice Islam.
This drove frustration, people found little recourse in the law to check the brutality of the police and security services. People disappeared, sat in prisons for years awaiting trial, convicted on arbitrary evidence, particularly political prisoners, and tortured brutally, many dying in the process. This hidden, unspoken world came to the fore as the world witnessed undercover police personnel and their paid henchmen attack protesters in Tahrir square at the height of the anti-Mubarak demonstrations.
The Islamic state will undertake, amongst other activities, the following to address this:
• The scope, remit and jurisdiction of the enforcement agencies in the Khilafah will be enshrined in the constitution. This will prevent the introduction of arbitrary laws, acts as the reference document against which enforcement agencies are accounted and ensure due process is required to any material changes in their scope and jurisdiction.
• Citizens of the Khilafah, Muslims and non-Muslims, will have the right to take any member of the enforcement agencies, regardless of rank, to court and/or register a complaint to an independent judiciary without any implications for his/her wellbeing. The judicial process, including submitted evidence, will be open and transparent. Court hearings will be open to the public. Any member of the law enforcement agencies found guilty of abusing their position, violating the rights of any citizen and acting against the law will be punished according to the nature of the violation committed and expelled from their agency as appropriate.
• The enforcement agencies do not have the power or right to spy or seek out peoples private beliefs. This will have an impact on collecting evidence through covert means, surveillance and violating the privacy of citizens. The privacy of the home and citizen is considered sacrosanct. Their jurisdiction is restricted to enforcing the jurisdiction of the state, this being temporal and public matters
• Enforcement agencies will be paid a wage commensurate with their work, benchmarked appropriately to ensure it comfortably affords employees essential living costs with an appropriate level of disposal income. This is, in part, to disincentivise employees undertaking additional jobs to compensate that may give rise to a conflict of interests and also corruption.
• In addition to ensuring law is not violated, the purpose of the enforcement agencies is to ensure citizens’ protection and safety. Neighbourhood watch schemes not should compensate for police shortcomings, the Khilafah will fund appropriate police employees to undertake day and night watches to provide an acceptable level of safety in each neighbourhood.
• Torture is absolutely forbidden and any employee found guilty of carrying out physical abuse or torture against any citizen, Muslim or non-Muslim, will be punished severely.
The Khilafah will make all offices of state accountable and weed out corruption
The myth often peddled by the west is that the authoritarian status quo in the Middle East is a consequence of Islam’s history in the region, that Muslims prefer strong leaders and have a preference for authoritarian figures. Worst still, that this is attitude is entrenched in Islamic law and theology.
This absurd suggestion fails to acknowledge that leaderships currently plaguing the Muslim world are not a consequence of Islam, but arose following its demise; they replaced a system with a long history of stability, with checks and balances to prevent the authoritarianism. This orientalist depiction of the Muslim psyche and of Islamic law and theology fails to recognise that the Mubaraks, Saddams and Gaddafis of the world are all a product of secular thinking, who acted to marginalise Islam from the conduct of the state. They lacked an independent will and entrenched western interests in the region. Islam would liberate people of the region from this entrenched and thoroughly authoritarian political landscape.
The Khilafah will do so in the following way:
• Accountability of the state is based on the following provisions: an independent judiciary with extensive powers including the ability to remove of the head of state, individual rights to speech and hold to account any office or agency of the state, the requirement for multiple political parties and an Ummah council that has the power to scrutinise and overturn state policy, budgets and decision making
• The head of the judiciary is appointed by but independent to the head of state. The Mahkamut al Madhalim is a dedicated office of the judiciary charged with checking the state’s compliance with the law. The Madhalim does not rely on a plaintiff raising a specific complaint against the state and is charged with on-going monitoring of all organs of state. The Madhalim has the power to remove the head of state if he is found guilty of violating the law or is personally unable to continue with his role, e.g. is incapacitated. The office is charged with following due process in each situation, which comprises the collection and analysis of evidence, and may include a sitting head of state providing evidence during the course of a trial. The Madhalim will have access to information from the state relating to any specific case, and can request information on behalf of any citizen
• Individuals have the right to account any organ or employee of the state, regardless of rank or seniority, this includes the head of state. Complaints will be submitted to the above mentioned Madhalim office who will initiate a process of validating and following due process in establishing facts; the office has the subsequent power to stipulate punishments. Individuals, Muslims and non-Muslims, are allowed the right to peaceful congregation and protest. They are also allowed to seek out support to make representations to the state on the behalf.
• Multiple political parties premised on Islam are allowed to exist and operate openly with the Khilafah. Political parties are allowed to congregate, stage protests and utilise the media for the purposes of accounting the state. They are also allowed to actively canvass for candidates during elections for the head of state.
• The Ummah Council comprises representatives from across the Khilafah and will include Muslims and non-Muslims. The council is designed not only to make representations to the state, but also has the power to scrutinise and overturn state policy, analyse the budget. Elections for the seats on the council are held periodically.
• For the purposes of ensuring transparent and openness, the state will be required to make available documentation related to decision making, where national security is not compromised. It is also required to make available details of its budget, tax revenues, expenditure from funds in the state treasury, wages and benefits provided to state employees and all information related to the collection, use and distribution of public money. State employees will be required to declare any conflict of interests and will be preventing from undertaken additional work or extra curricula engagements where these conflicts with acting as a state employee. Employment decisions will be scrutinised and will be based on an open criteria – based on merit alone – to prevent the onset of nepotism. Any employee found guilty of corruption, taking bribes or advances the interests of friends or family will be put on trial and punished severely if found guilty, regardless of rank or time served.