Mohammed Selim El-Awwa

“with justice/ long live Egypt”

Mohammed Selim El-Awwa is an Islamic thinker, lawyer and international arbitrator.

El-Awwa says his platform seeks to help “the poor overcome their poverty”. He also supports unrestricted freedom for small businesses and the elimination of governmental red tape.
El-Awwa says he supports “balanced” relations with the West, especially the US. On Israel, he says that Egypt seeks “normal” ties with it as an “enemy with whom we have a truce”.

Last year, he did not support the pro-revolution side very strongly. He took part in the 8 July demonstration that called for the expedition of trials of former Mubarak regime members accused of killing demonstrators during the 25 January revolution. But then he said: “Demonstrations can be held at certain times without disrupting production,” he said. “But sit-ins violate Islamic law.”

About the Maspero events, he said “It was certainly intended and planned. I said there was a third party involved and I knew who they were, but I kept silent. Their identities are now published in the newspapers. Political powers and businessmen were involved in planning that a long time ago.”
Despite his efforts on Muslim-Christian interaction, he had told earlier in the year Al Jazeera about the Coptic Church’s “stocking arms and ammunition in their churches and monasteries.”

In November 2011, he told Al Masry AlYom that “sharia is already implemented in Egypt. It does not need more implementation” and that “religion cannot be the basis for a constitution. The constitution is an agreement to run the country according to specific rules, which can be taken from anywhere. If people want constitutional rules taken from Sharia or France, then that is their business.
[…] I disagree on this defiance against Islam. Islam is a way of life, as is Christianity and Judaism. Why isn’t anybody objecting to the democratic Christian parties in Europe? Yet everyone objects to the Islamic political parties. We are an Islamic world and we have to have Islamist parties. What’s the problem with that?”

He is known for his book Fil Nizam Al-Siyasi lil Dawla Al-Islamiya (On the Political System of the Islamic State).

In 1965, as the clampdown on members of the Muslim Brotherhood was reaching a climax, El- Awa was arrested and charged with being a member of the banned group, a charge he dismissed as baseless, though it cost him his job as a teacher.
“Since that time I have never had any political affiliation to any group or political movement,” he said.
Jobless for two years El-Awa, on the advice of his mentor Hassan El-Ashmawi, to whose daughter he is now married following the death of his first wife, accepted a place at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, as a PhD law candidate. After a few years in the Gulf, where he helped establish departments of law at several universities he returned to Egypt in 1985 and began teaching constitutional law at Zaqaziq University.


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