The Friday evening event held by Hizb-ut-Tahrir Britain on 20 September 2013 was attended by over 400 men and women, who heard lively talks and debate on the political crisis in the Middle East with a focus on Syria and Egypt.At the outset of the event, the Chair, Jamal Harwood, who is a lecturer in Finance and Economics and a regular commentator on Islamic political affairs, posed some interesting questions for the speakers: on Syria, what’s the current state of the uprising, how should we see the divisions between the US and Russia and what does the future hold for the devastated country? On Egypt, the question most commentators are asking is does the arrest of Mohammad Morsi point to the failure and end of political Islam?
Ferdeous Ahmed, a regular speaker on Islamic political affairs and a management consultant, began by highlighting the significance of Bilad Ash-Sham, which includes the region of Syria, in Islamic texts. Ferdeous argued that the uprising in Syria is different from others in the region for its very Islamic nature, which the West has deceptively portrayed as extremist. Ferdeous warned that this as well as western portrayals of a sectarian conflict in Syria was politically motivated and incorrect. In reality the people of Syria had risen up against a tyrant ruler who had oppressed the masses for many years just like his father Hafez Assad in past decades. Ferdeous recalled the nature of Syria as a police state when he visited the country in the 1990s. On the apparent divisions between Russian and the US, Ferdeous argued these were delaying tactics by the so-called international powers so that they can conspire a Western-compliant political grouping in the country, which to date they have failed to do.
Mohammad Sajjad, a regular commentator, writer and analyst of political affairs in the Muslim world, gave a lively talk of the reasons for the failures of the Muslim Brotherhood Government in Egypt. He argued this had betrayed the sacrifices and sentiments of the people who had risen and called for Islam during the Egyptian upraising. Mohammad warned that the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood Government lay in working within the corrupted system which was little different from the Mubarak era. Thus the political failure of the Muslim Brotherhood was not a failure of political Islam at all. Mohammad presented examples of policies that should have been implemented to chart a truly independent and Islamic future for Egypt.
After a question and answer session Dr Abdul Wahid, Chair of the National Executive Committee, Hizb-ut-Tahrir Britain, gave a short presentation of what Muslims can do here to support the people working for real Islamic political change in the Middle East. He emphasised that our duas need to be accompanied by action, which was an intellectual struggle against the demonization of political Islam in the West. The event ended with duas.