• 02:29
  • Monday ,19 March 2012

Brotherhood MP says freedom of religion “God-granted right”

By-Almasry alyoum

Home News


Monday ,19 March 2012

Brotherhood MP says freedom of religion “God-granted right”

 While participating in a panel on freedom of expression, Muslim Brother and MP Helmy al-Gazzar said that all citizens should be guaranteed the right to practice their own faiths.

“Islam provides freedom of Religion,” he said. “Which means that non-Muslims are not compelled to convert to Islam nor hindered to practice Islam. Such a great freedom is an indicator for the unlimited freedom that God have granted to all mankind.”
Gazzar said the statements Wednesday at the British Council in Cairo at a panel hosted by the Anna Lindh Foundation in collaboration with El Sawy culture wheel.
The discussion hosted four well-known figures for a debate session about encouraging creativity and freedom of speech.
“Creators should develop their talents continuously,” said Fardia Shoubashy, a writer and journalist who also sat on the panel. “If I don’t agree with the creator’s way of expression, I will simply neglect him. But it is not my right to forbid or limit someone way of expression.
Shoubashy said Egyptians should learn from famous artists and singers in history. She said many Islamists called the legendary Um Kalthoum a prostitute though she was internationally renowned for her talent. She warned against the banning of the book “One-Thousand and One Nights,” for what some modern conservatives say are unscrupulous phrases.
Many attending agreed general rules should be established to limit creativity and speech.
But if God granted unconditional freedom, then “who is that person who can rank himself above God?” asked an audience member.
“Every director or author have a point of view,” said the poet Gamal Bekheit “And it is up to the creator to choose the areas to tackle on it in their book, piece of art or movies. And if anyone despises the sex scenes or speech, then he should simply avoid these genres and look for others.”
Some panelists pointed to what they said were good examples of art that was both real and uncensored, but also respected cultural mores. Fadel Suleiman, Director of Bridges Foundation, said the film “678” about sexual harassment of women in Egypt, “expressed heated controversy in a very ethical way.”
Gazzar said, “It is fine to discuss critical problems as long as the creator provides a good role model or solution at the end of the work.”
But one audience member said that the new government seemed equally out-of-touch as Mubarak, who also practiced censorship.
 “The elders in power who do not represent the revolutionists nor the entire population fail to understand us and they never will” said the young man.