A visiting correspondent from the American newspaper the Wall Street Journal asked me about my experience working with Salafists from the Nur Party on the Committee of 50. I told him that the party’s representative on the committee was at many times in disagreement with us, but that I can’t say that his presence was a major impediment.
Signs of surprise appeared on the correspondent’s face; perhaps he was expecting me to seem ill at ease over the presence of a representative of what is termed political Islam on the committee, or for me to complain about the representative’s attempts to forcibly impose his opinions, or that I would recount the many articles that he tried to force upon the other members. I said to him: Your shock surprises me, since you were the ones pounding it into our heads how it’s necessary to include those who call themselves “Islamists” in the political process, and when we do that you seem shocked that we aren’t complaining about that.
He replied: But I heard some things attributed to committee members that several phrases were changed in the preamble after the voting was over, in order to appease the Nur Party.
I replied: That is completely untrue, as not a single letter of the constitution, including the preamble, was changed after the vote took place. The voting was broadcast live to all citizens, and what was read allowed in that session is what was printed for the referendum to take place.
He directed another pointed question to me: Do you want to say that you’re happy that Salafists participated with you on the Committee?
So I replied: Whenever I saw the terrorist acts perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood against citizens and how they preferred to use violence over the political process, I was without a doubt glad that some opposition political powers have chosen to adhere to democratic practices, and that they are participating in the political process in a natural way.
I then added: It’s true that some people say that this is a temporary maneuver, and that the Salafists will at the very first opportunity go back to supporting the Brotherhood. However, we can’t treat people based on suppositions, and as long as they officially adhere to peaceful democratic protocol, there is no justification for excluding them.
After a moment of silence, I added: Perhaps you didn’t get what you were looking for in my answer, but I gave you the truth … if that is what you actually want to print in the U.S. press.