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Egypt‚??s Sisi: Islamic ‘thinking’ is ‘antagonizing the entire world’

And causing ‚??anxiety, danger, killing, and destruction.”

Speaking before Al-Azhar and the Awqaf Ministry on New Year‚??s Day, 2015, and in connection to Prophet Muhammad‚??s upcoming birthday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a vocal supporter for a renewed vision of Islam, made what must be his most forceful and impassioned plea to date on the subject.

Among other things, Sisi said that the ‚??corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years‚?Ě are ¬†‚??antagonizing the entire world‚?Ě; that it is not ‚??possible that 1.6 billion people [reference to the world‚??s Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world‚??s inhabitants‚??that is 7 billion‚??so that they themselves may live‚?Ě; and that Egypt (or the Islamic world in its entirety) ‚??is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost‚??and it is being lost by our own hands.‚?Ě

The relevant excerpt from Sisi‚??s speech follows (translation by Michele Antaki):

I am referring here to the religious clerics.¬†¬† We have to think hard about what we are facing‚??and I have, in fact,¬†addressed this topic¬†a couple of times before.¬† It‚??s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire¬†umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. ¬†Impossible!

That thinking‚??I am not saying ‚??religion‚?Ě but ‚??thinking‚?Ě‚??that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world.¬† It‚??s antagonizing the entire world!

Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world‚??s inhabitants‚??that is 7 billion‚??so that they themselves may live? Impossible!

I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema‚??Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I‚??m talking about now.

All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.

I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move‚?¶ because this¬†umma¬†is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost‚??and it is being lost by our own hands.

Note: It is unclear if in the last instance of¬†umma¬†Sisi is referring to Egypt (‚??the nation‚?Ě) or if he is using it in the pan-Islamic sense as he did initially to refer to the entire Islamic world.

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Written By

Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam‚??s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane‚??s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, 2013. Ibrahim‚??s dual-background‚??born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East‚??has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.

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