By Heba Fahmy
CAIRO: Muslim Brotherhood senior member Sobhi Saleh denied accusations of defamation against women and distorting the teachings of Islam, directed against him by two lawyers in a complaint to the Prosecutor General.
“These accusations are incorrect and illegal,” Saleh told Daily News Egypt.
Saleh was also accused of encouraging political racism and threatening public order.
Saleh refused to give any more details, saying that he would plead his case during investigations.
In an MB press conference two weeks ago, Saleh said that members of the Muslim Brotherhood should only marry women from within the group.
He said that Brotherhood members should not settle for “less,” when they can have the “best,” referring to the group’s female members. He cited a verse from the Quran to support his views.
Saleh added that when a couple gets married from within the group, they would adopt the Brotherhood’s ideologies through “inheritance,” which would empower the Brotherhood and allow them to impose themselves on the rest of society as a majority.
He added that the coming government will be an Islamic one that implements Islamic law.
“These are [the kinds of] mistakes that will delay victory [for the Brotherhood],” he said, referring to the marriage between Brotherhood members and non-Brotherhood members.
Lawyers Maha Abu Bakr and Samira Hagras filed the complaint against Saleh, saying that he distorted the teachings of Islam, which allows Muslim men to marry Christian and Jewish women.
They added that Saleh wasn’t qualified to act as a Mufti and issue fatwas to the people, according to media reports.
Rashad Bayoumi, deputy leader of the MB, told DNE that these statements do not represent the group.
“I have one son and he’s married to a woman who is not affiliated with the group,” Bayoumi said.
He added that the government according to Islam is a civilian government that does not allow religious scholars to rule.
Saleh’s statements outraged political figures and intellectuals who attacked him on several talk shows following the incident. Saleh was a member of the committee chosen to propose amendments to the constitution, which were later approved through a referendum.
However Saleh defended himself saying that his statements were taken out of context and that he was misquoted by the media. In a phone interview on OnTV’s “Akher Kalam,” Saleh claimed to have been talking about the method of Hassan Al-Banna, founder of the MB, in achieving peaceful gradual change and reform in rebuilding the society.
Amna Nosseir, Islamic studies professor at Al-Azhar University, said she believed that Saleh’s statements stemmed from the Egyptian culture inherited from our ancestors, encouraging the marriage of cousins to preserve the family’s inheritance.
“The Brotherhood is also empowered by members marrying from within the group to preserve the Brotherhood’s legacy,” Nosseir said.
She added that although she is against Saleh’s statements, she does not believe the situation should have been escalated and dubbed “a distortion of Islamic religion.”
“We should weigh our statements and actions before announcing them to the public,” she said referring to Saleh.
However, it seems that people are consuming their time and effort to criticize useless statements that aren’t even worthy of being addressed, she added. –Additional reporting by Marwa Al Aasar.