Group recognizes the important place Mahfouz held in the literary world
CAIRO: El-Gamaa El-Islamiyya (The Islamic Group), the same group that attempted to assassinate Naguib Mahfouz, has issued a statement regarding his death and the assassination attempt in the 1990s.
In a memorial statement, the group termed Mahfouz the only thinker who had demanded the group s legitimate right to existence, and stated that the assassination attempt had been an individual act they opposed.
The statement was published on the group s Web site under the title: “Farewell, Naguib Mahfouz.
Calling him a great novelist, the group said that despite the disagreement between the Islamic Movement, specifically, and Muslim scholars, in general, with Naguib Mahfouz, since he wrote Awlad Haretna (Children of Our Alley), the group recognized the contributions the writer made, while clarifying which actions they disapproved of.
The statement began by praising Mahfouz and his work, saying, With the death of the international Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz, the Arabic novel has lost one of its most important pillars. And we’re not exaggerating when we say that it has lost its godfather. Throughout the 70 years which Mahfouz has written, he was able to place the Arabic novel among international literature, and to take it from the stage of the teenage years to adulthood and completion.
The statement mentioned Awlad Haretna. Despite that, Mahfouz, may God rest his soul, wrote in the beginning of his life Awlad Haretna, which insulted all religions, not just Islam . but the great writer should be thanked because he refused to publish it unless Al-Azhar approved it. We consider the gesture as repentance. But some opponents of Islam took advantage of the assassination attempt to spread the novel on a wider scale.
The group emphasized their denunciation of the assassination attempt, saying, The assassination attempt on the great novelist Naguib Mahfouz was not the mainstream policy of the group. Disagreements are supposed to be handled by discussion and dialogue and not killings and assassinations. What happened to the great novelist was an individual act, done by some of the group members.
The statement added, We want to stress that, now, the group adopts the policy that a pen should only be countered by a pen, and a voice should only be countered by a voice, and that to answer a pen with bullets harms Muslims, Islam and their nations more than it brings benefit.