CAIRO: Contradictory accounts have marked a recent book on the Muslim Brotherhood as its author claims that Al-Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy rejected the book based on orders from state security.
However, Al-Azhar denied that it followed orders whatsoever from any authority.
Earlier in May, writer Ibrahim El-Kholany had sought to register the copyrights of his book entitled “A Witness to the Muslim Brotherhood’’ through the Intellectual Property Rights Registration office at the Ministry of Culture.
However, the employees there told him he had to first get the approval of the Islamic Research Academy on the content of the book since it contains Quran verses and Hadith.
El-Kholany, accordingly, presented two copies of his book before the academy’s research and translation department for approval.
“I waited for four months and when I demanded feedback, the academy’s translation and research department head Diyaa Mohamed Abdel-Rabouh told me there is nothing wrong with the book; but that state security authorities objected to its content … [fearing a possible] public disturbance [that may erupt] among citizens,” El-Kholany told Daily News Egypt.
“What harm would a book like this cause to public opinion?” he asked.
The book tackles the history of the Brotherhood and its critical relation with each of the country’s leaders since its establishment.
In his book, El-Kholany fiercely criticized the Brotherhood saying that the group deteriorated following the death of its founder and first guide Hassan El-Banna.
“The rejection of my book [may have been] the result of a deal between [the group] and the [authorities], like the case with the latest People’s Assembly elections [in 2005 when they won 88 seats],” El-Kholany argued.
“The state seems to be afraid to anger the Brotherhood,” he claimed.
Both the government and the Brotherhood had refuted making such deals.
Nevertheless, Abdel-Rabouh denied that state security gives Al-Azhar any orders as to what books to allow or ban.
“The state security has nothing to do with such issues … a committee from Al-Azhar decided after reading [El-Kholany’s] book that it includes information that may stir public disturbance,” he told Daily News Egypt.
Abdel-Rabouh confirmed that the rejection of the book has nothing to do with the Brotherhood, either.
“Al-Azhar does not reject books about the Brotherhood. It only refuses books that contain information contradicting with the Islamic ideology or concepts. We are not an entity that confiscates books,” Abdel-Rabouh argued.
Al-Azhar had banned a few years ago a book by Islamic scholar Ahmed Didat entitled “Who Moved the Stone?” for criticizing modern Christianity.
“Usually the Islamic Research Academy cooperates with state security when it comes to books on political Islam,” Director of Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) Gamal Eid argued.
“There was an incident in 1996 when a number of books were confiscated from the Cairo International Book Fair by the academy and some state security officers were present on the scene,” Eid said.