Imam of Islamic Center of Washington:
Islamic Awakening needs direction
Press TV , 18 Sep 2011 17:22
Muhammed al-Asi, Imam of Islamic Center of Washington, says the Islamic Awakening needs a leadership that gives direction to the movement.
BFnews: Press TV talks al-Asi in a discussion that helps to understand the challenges facing the popular movements and uprisings across the Middle East.
Following is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Three words that come to mind after hearing the speech that Ayatollah Khamenei gave on Saturday at the Islamic Conference - vigilance, patience, and unity - his words as a recipe for the success of these movements to stay on track. What is your take on that?
Muhammed al-Asi: The awakening that is occurring throughout different countries in what is called the Middle East is momentous. I think if you listen very closely to the Leader\'s statement you could glean from his sentences that he wanted to impart to the listeners and to the viewers the fact that this awakening needs a direction.
As you may have seen in the past several months there\'s quite an intensive emotionalism that is displayed by the masses in such places as Cairo, in Tunis, in Bahrain and in other countries. What is needed in the midst of all of this is an anchor.
What I read from his statement is that there has to be a leadership that gives direction to this movement. Otherwise - and this was probably left out of the discourse, but putting the pieces of the puzzle together - the forces of imperialism and even Zionism will hijack these uprisings.
And they (internal imperialist forces) do have the finances. Some of them are agents and some of them are the typical liberal Westernized intelligencia that want the future in these countries to be a future that is compliant, with what you may call the status quo, to the American/European/Israeli grand alliance in the area.
They don\'t want these countries to \'break loose\' from American hegemony the same as what happened in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In other words, they don\'t want to see an Islamic Republic in Egypt or in Yemen or in these other countries that is independent of their influences and their dictates.
In the best case scenario, these imperialists and Zionists want to satisfy the emotionalism of the people saying OK, if you want an Islamic-type of set up we have no problems with you applying your Islamic laws. You can cut off the heads of certain people who commit certain crimes or you can cut off the hands of certain people who commit certain other crimes - you can have your own penal system.
But when it comes to the economy of these countries or when it comes to the liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation you have no say in that. We are the ones who are going to tell you what your foreign policies are going to be; what your financial policies are going to be; what your economic policies are going to be; and you are going to listen to us.
Press TV: In the speech that Ayatollah Khamenei made he kept referring to the people making sure that the revolutions would not be hijacked and that there are certain powers that be that are trying to get involved and sidetrack their revolutions.
What needs to be done in order for these revolutions not to be hijacked?
Muhammed al-Asi: To give his statement a little context, not all of these revolts were created equal. In my reading of it - of course we have some Muslims who have a conspiratorial mindset. If something happens somewhere and this reminds me of the Islamic revolution in Iran at the beginning of the Islamic revolution there were members of the Islamic revolution in the world who were suspicious that the Islamic revolution in Iran was being macro-managed by Britain and the US and when it hit them hard they realized that they had it all misunderstood.
This same type of mentality is at work right now; they perceive this of the movement of the people in some countries especially in Tunisia and Egypt. In my assessment of these peoples\' movements, Egypt and Tunisia represented an authentic outburst of the sentiments and the pent up feelings of the masses there who had been suffering from all sorts of internal policies in domestic politics that were smothering their lives, almost physically suffocating them economically. So they burst out like this spontaneously.
In my opinion they took two segments by surprise : the first was the foreigners such as the European powers and the US and the Israelis - will all the informants they have present in these countries I don\'t think they saw this coming. The other segment they took by surprise was the Islamic movement. The Islamic movement did not expect this type of massive development to erupt in such a quick-paced manner.
American government officials as well as some European governments such as France and Britain and others tried to handle these revolts as damage control - “This is damage; how are we going to control this damage?” - They went into that mode to deal with it.
The Islamic movement on the other hand, whose factions come from different organizations, they were delighted that this happened - it took them by surprise - and they still are trying to figure out how to give this direction.
Press TV: So, on the one hand the Americans the British the French were caught by surprise and also the Islamic movements. So, months into this, who is figuring it out better about what to do? At this point in time do you see the influence as far as the Westerners? Can you see it more than for example six months ago? Or the Islamic movement - are they developing? How do you see it?
Muhammed al-Asi: Both sides are playing chess. I think the Islamic movement is trying now to make up for lost time - they\'re trying in their own way to fill in the vacuum.
I began by saying that Tunisia and Egypt were two areas that sent shock waves down the chord of imperialism and Zionism, but there are other countries - you see, there are revolutions now in the making. They are beneath the surface they haven\'t exploded above the surface.
These places are such as Morocco; the Arabian Peninsula with the exception of Yemen and Bahrain - these are right now \'under the surface movements\' that may in the coming months or years explode the same way we see what is happening in Egypt in Tunisia in Yemen etc. These pre-existing types - what is happening in Yemen preceded what happened in Egypt and Tunisia. Jordan has been a simmering case of a popular resentment and movement against the monarchy there.
The way the American imperialist policies along with its Zionist sidekick - the way they operated was to address Egypt and Tunisia via Libya and Syria. This is the way they are trying to take care of what I referred to as \'damage control.\'
Press TV: How do you see it playing itself out? What will it take for these revolutions to be successful?
Muhammed al-Asi: What it\'s going to take is the members of the Islamic movement that belong to different organizations and different orientations, they have to get together, work out a common arrangement. What\'s our common denominator here? Set aside the differences we have; work on anchoring in an Islamic direction, orientation and leadership for these popular movements; come out in public and say we are going to make these independent decisions that have been waiting for such a long time.
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