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Opponents of Morsi pray in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Anti-Morsi protesters have set up camp in the square, the site of 2011 protests that brought down the presidency of Hosni Mubarak.Amr Nabil / AP
Ibrahim Negm is senior advisor to the Grand Mufti of Egypt
After toppling Morsi, Egypt stands today at the dawn of a new era. It is an era born of the ingenuity, sacrifices and dedication of an entire nation. The past four days have been a testament to the spirit and integrity of the Egyptian people. One of the most worrisome elements is the eruption of violence after toppling Morsi. Violence is always regrettable, and must be discarded altogether. The brutal bloody incidents that turned the cities of my own country in the past two nights deteriorate into virtual war zones is a cause of unimaginable grief and sadness, and worthy of the strongest condemnation.
The past few days have been indeed difficult times. At times, it’s been unclear what the next day would hold whether the safety of the people could be assured, or whether the situation would spiral out of control. However, history bears witness that it is in times of difficulty that the Egyptian spirit of community asserts itself the strongest. The youth of our nation have organized en masse to make their voices heard, and to demand change. They have demonstrated great resolve in their pursuit of fundamental reforms. The display of national unity has been remarkable people from all walks of life have joined together to imagine a better future.
It is important to acknowledge at this juncture the crucial role played by the armed forces in maintaining peace throughout the nation, asserting their respect for and unity with the Egyptian people, and ensuring that the welfare of the nation transcends all. As they embark on this transitional phase, we have every confidence that they will continue to place these values at the top of their agenda and live up to their stated commitments.
The new era in which we stand is one of hope. It was built on an agenda of reform. While that agenda has largely focused on political and constitutional reforms, this is the moment to remind ourselves that this is simply the beginning, and that Egypt needs much more than this. To accomplish national reconciliation and foster a truly healthy and vibrant society, we need to seize the moment and take measures to ensure economic and social reform as well. This requires the continued goodwill and dedication of all Egyptians. We cannot afford to exclude any of the political forces in the Egyptian public square, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Now is the time to take advantage of the moment and achieve truly comprehensive and far-reaching reforms which will help all members of society. We must continue to be united in solidarity, working towards a better future, and putting Egypt above all else.
It is important to point out that this moment is one of hope, and not one to satisfy old grudges. Islamic teachings emphasize that we not dwell on the past, and instead move into the future, active and alive, focused on creating a better future. Egypt has a unique ability to continue to remember the positive contributions of the various groups and personalities in our nation’s history, despite their faults. Let us continue this tradition, and let old grievances neither divide us nor eat away at the spirit that has characterized the revolution.
Whatever becomes of Egypt after this period of crisis, one thing is certain. Egypt is much more than its presidential figure. It is a nation of richness, culture and sincerity. It is a nation made by its people, genuine and dedicated. Moreover, it is of crucial political importance in the region. It is in the interest of all involved in the international community to do its utmost to help ensure its stability and prosperity.
This is an important time to affirm that the Dar al-Ifta’, the Office of the Grand Mufti, remains at the service of the Egyptian people, prepared to offer religious guidance on all matters of national and international importance. We have always remained independent of political affiliations and orientations, and stood against corruption and manipulation of offices; we will continue to do so. We support the aspirations of the Egyptian people in the coming era, and we call on all Egyptians to ensure the safeguarding of the five overriding objectives of Islamic law the preservation of life, property, honor, family, reason, and religion values that are of course shared by all humanity.
For the past few years, the Dar al-Ifta (National fatwa office) has made great strides in restructuring the organization to enhance accessibility and responsiveness, incorporating new technologies along the way. The circumstances of the past few weeks have inspired us to embark on a set of initiatives to move further along this path, improving lines of communication with the people. These include a presence on social media (Facebook, Twitter), meetings with youth and media, as well as an expansion of our translation department which already translates religious guidance into nine languages.
The past few days have deeply affected all segments of Egyptian society. The new era is one on which we embark together as a nation, full of hope, trusting in God, and determined to make Egypt prosper.