Interview with Amr Darrag
One more link to my own work: I sat down for an interview with senior Muslim Brother and secretary general of the constituent assembly that gave us Egypt's current constitution Amr Darrag in the Spring (Mr. Darrag has since become Egypt's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation). The interview is now up on the Middle East Institute's Arab Transitions channel, a valuable new resource.
Mr. Darrag is an articulate and personable man and in the interview he gives the Freedom and Justice Party's view on the NGO Law (which he admits is draconian); Egypt's role on Palestinian-Israeli negotiations; and the IMF negotiations.
But there were some strange moments in the interview, such as when he insisted that the current government (appointed by President Morsi) was "not an MB government;" when he suggested the NGO law was not proposed or backed by the FJP, even though it controls the legislature; and -- more strikingly -- when he insisted that the FJP and the MB were too completely separate organization, with almost no coordination between them.
UL: The FJP recently issued a strong dissent to a statement by the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Some members of the party also question the international human rights conventions to which Egypt is signatory, saying that these rights should be shaped by the commitment to Shariah found in the constitution.
AD: First of all, the FJP did not issue the statement. It was the Muslim Brotherhood, and that was based on a misunderstanding. There was the perception in the Brotherhood that the document was final, whereas it was just a draft. Someone got carried away and issued the statement.
UL: But the criticism is still there on the website.
AD: Well, you should go to the Muslim Brotherhood and ask them. As a party we are totally against that statement.
UL: But aren't you also the Muslim Brotherhood?
AD: No, we're not. We're an independent organization. You have to realize this.
I actually went on to ask him: "But aren't you a member of the MB?" To which he replied: "I'm a member of many things! I don't necessarily agree with everything they do."