Sheik Abdul Rahim Abdul Ghaffar, former leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, claims that the downfall of President Mohamed Mursi’s regime would plunge the country into chaos. Abdul Ghaffar’s mother is the cousin of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for almost 30 years.
During Mubarak’s Abdul Ghaffar spent over 15 years in several Egyptian prisons, harshest of which was the Scorpion Prison in southern Cairo.
Abdul Ghaffar was first sentenced in 1981 for attempting to impose sharia law during the notorious trial against Egyptian Islamic Jihad for the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. He received his second sentencing during the 1993 trial against the group known as the Vanguards of Conquest.
He rejected Mursi’s capitulation to the pressure from the opposition to appoint non-Brotherhood members to his cabinet. He believes that the opposition wants to undermine the Islamists’ plans to establish a theocratic state by claiming that the Supreme Guide, the Muslim Brotherhood’s top official, is running Egypt.
He said that, “In the Egyptian countryside, Mubarak is considered to be my uncle. My mother is Ihsan Mahmoud Mubarak, cousin of the former president. My grandfather was the brother of Mubarak’s father.” He pointed out that the Mubarak family in the village of Kafr Meselhh rejects the validity of his trial.
The following are highlights from the interview:
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Two years after the January 25 revolution, how do you see Egypt?
[Abdul Ghaffar] The revolution has not yet achieved its goals. Mubarak and the deep-rooted corruption which he instilled still pervade all state institutions.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] From your standpoint, what prevents President Mursi from achieving the goals of the revolution?
[Abdul Ghaffar] The corruption from the previous regime underlies all government ministries and agencies. They still operate in the same manner as they did pre-revolution.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] But the eliminating the underlying corruption, as you say, is the job of the president and his government; Why do they not do this?
[Abdul Ghaffar] Quite frankly, the presidency is nothing but the army and the police, and the dozens of advisors and ministers around him are merely for show. If police and army officials turned against the president he would be without power.
-You belong to Mubarak’s family; How do you all perceive the situation now after the court ruled for a re-trial of the former president and his two sons?
- Are you in touch with your siblings (Mubarak’s cousins)?
-Some are now saying that the country was better off during Mubarak’s reign than it is now; How do you respond to this?
- What do you think of the opposition National Salvation Front’s refusal to enter into discussions with President Mohamed Mursi?
- Some are calling for the ouster of Mursi’s regime. What do you expect would happen if his regime fell?