Publications & Statements by Imam

02/12/11: Arab World's moment of truth is coming

Arab World's moment of truth is coming

By Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi

Saturday, 02.12.2011, 10:34am- Arab American News

The massive social and political volcano that erupted in Tunisia with the death of Mohamed Bouazizi has burned the foundations of the oppressive Pharaohic establishment in Egypt for the last three weeks. So far, the protesters have won some unprecedented concessions.  Their main demand is still the same: "Step down Mubarak, the people want the overthrow of the regime."

It seems that nothing less than the departure of Mubarak will satisfy millions of patriotic Egyptians who choose to suffer and sacrifice for the sake of freedom and justice! There was hope that in his televised speech Thursday night he would meet that demand, but his stubbornness energized by Israel and the support of some Arab rulers stopped him from doing so.

Searching for an identity that has been abused over the years is the biggest cause propelling the uprising.  In targeting 30 years of dishonesty, deception and dictatorship, the people want their dignity back.

Apparently Omar Suleiman, like his master, is out of touch with the reality. He foolishly insulted all of those women, men, intellectuals, scholars, workers, young and old who have been demonstrating for more than three weeks now, by describing them as kids, influenced by foreigners, whose culture is not ready for democracy yet. To make matters worse, he warned of chaos and coup, giving Egyptians two options: submission or force.

Suleiman promised to accomplish in a few months what the Egyptian government has failed to do in three decades. The Holy Qur'an speaks to that in Chapter 2 verse 12: "Surely they are the ones who make mischief but they realize it not."

It's all about greed, arrogance, money, corruption and might.

Imam Mohammad Ali ElahiThe Guardian newspaper estimated the wealth of the Mubarak family to be about $70 billion. If that is true, he had better stay in Egypt to answer to the nation, where people live on $2 a day.

As the end of Mubarak approaches, his downfall will cause a massive political and social earthquake that will turn every Arab capital into 'Liberation Square'. The call for change, which is being crushed by secret police and intelligence agents, is flooding Facebook, Twitter and other means of communications. The moment of truth for the Arab world is coming.

In 2006 when Beirut was burning under Israeli bombardments, Condoleezza Rice described the plight of Lebanon as a part of the "birth pangs of a new Middle East." The delivery is taking place but not with the same DNA Condoleezza had in mind.

Supporters of Mubarak, such as Israel, keep trying to scare the world that Egypt might become another Iran. The anti-Western sentiment that swept Iran in 1979 was after the West supported the dictatorial regime of the Shah against the people; to do the same in Egypt will yield the same result!

There are similarities and differences between these two revolutions. The 1979 revolution in Iran was blessed with unity in leadership, and clarity of its goal.   There was a powerful, charismatic, inspiring, and exceptional leader, who faithfully and fearlessly called for the establishment of an Islamic government, and the whole nation followed him unconditionally. The Egyptian revolution is different both in leadership and goals; yet the people seemed to be inspired spiritually with the events in Iran, Lebanon and Tunisia. One similarity among all these populace movements is powerful participation of the young generation.  The youth are determined to end oppression and injustice in their Egypt and enjoy an honorable life.

No doubt the Egyptian uprising is an opportunity and also a challenge for all.  It's up to al-Azhar, a thousand year old Islamic university and its great muftis and scholars to speak out, show leadership, courage and commitment to justice and fairness, emulating the Prophet Mohammad when he faced tyrants and evil authorities. Or the muftis can act as puppet preachers who stand against the oppressed and the victims of torture, pain, poverty, humiliation and death.

It seems that some of those religious leaders live on another planet. They don't mind if the West interferes in their country's affairs, but they condemn the sympathy of Iranian and Lebanese religious leaders toward the impoverished Egyptians.

While the youth of Cairo camped in 'Tahrir Square' for the last three weeks in plastic tents, suffering from the chilly weather, the highest Saudi Mufti calls the Egyptian revolution a fitna (mischief) that makes division between the people and governments. Unfortunately some al-Azhar scholars echoed the same irresponsible words.  The youth of Egypt will never forget the dignity, wisdom, and leadership of many Shi'a and Sunni scholars who have expressed their support and solidarity for their struggle. They will remember the one who called them from the south of Beirut and said "Your action is not any less important than the Resistance's victory in the July 2006 war; we wish we could be with you in the 'Tahrir Square' and all of Egypt."

For sure, the 82-year-old Mubarak will be swept into the dustbin of history, and the youth will be the decision makers of their country. Egyptians should have free and fair elections and we should all accept the results regardless.

The writer is religious leader of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.