Fetsum: The Eritrean Islamic Congress Party EIC
Fetsum: The Eritrean Islamic Congress Party EIC Reconciliation: Anyone that preaches for peace and reconciliation should practice the theoretical wisdom in order to stay consistent with the preaching; the person remains being a hypocrite otherwise. Going toe to toe
Fetsum: The Eritrean Islamic Congress Party EIC
Reconciliation: Anyone that preaches for peace and reconciliation should practice the theoretical wisdom in order to stay consistent with the preaching; the person remains being a hypocrite otherwise. Going toe to toe with other minds on any subject matter cannot originate without ego, the disease that makes one a victim of self obsession. Like water pacifies fire, letting go resolves the contradiction between different opinions. No matter how differently Assena and I see the value of my disallowed article, the tension must be defused in favor of the struggle for the most important stake here is the condition of the Eritrean people which we should use to reconcile our differences and move on.
So elusive the question of right and wrong or that of true or false has been it can force one to breach other people’s perceptional territories. Ego can destroy the relationship of two entities only when given the chance, things normalize otherwise. In this situation, I refuse my ego to dominate my integrity into further complicating the little hick up between us (ASSENNA AND ME) and tend to move on without any grudge and personification.
At the bottom line of the matter, there is no such thing as truth or reality in the socio-philosophical spectrum of life for no human nature can measure it in pieces: We can only face a happenstance through compromise to reach a middle ground that best accommodates the two conflicting sides in question. The moment we freely exhaust all possible constants and variables of something without bias to our individual opinions we have relatively reached the limits of absolute truth only in that regard. One’s feelings and preconditions cannot represent the objective reality for the universe does not revolve around an individual’s concept of reality.
No subjective outlook focused on making objective impact can succeed without appreciating the notion that human beings react to different situations differently by natural fabric. Arguing about whether something is true or not does not change the real nature of a subject matter in examination for nothing satisfies everybody else equally.“People may keep looking for the right answer, but there is no right answer. Everything is relative rather than absolute. That is the answer”, says LAMA SURYA DAS in Awakening the Buddha within. There is nothing for me to discuss or to prove in this scenario any longer, only to continue my conviction until I exhaust my potential enjoying the moment. I therefore cannot persist on making the release of my article a condition to continue writing at Assenna without gravitating on the issue beyond necessary and prioritizing my personal feelings to the cause of the Eritrean people for justice and democracy.
You can think of me as a radical or an extremist in so far as the concept of democracy is concerned because I believe I am. I don’t think Eritrea or any other society can fully experience my understanding of democracy: There is no society that practices it 100%. But I hope the struggle will produce some sort of democracy in future Eritrea and I think this is what we are fighting for. I have no idea how the experience will change my style of writing ahead but I am sure it has changed something in me that I have not precisely figured out yet.
Reminding people to be responsible of their reaction to my articles and to read my disallowed article “Women and religion” at the Kunama Website (http://www.mesel-biherat.com) I have chosen moving on with Assenna on the few articles I intend to write till the end of this year when I will have substantially completed my spiritual journey on the Eritrean question of democracy that started in 2012. I hope the website will do its part in this reconciliation drive. Further, I will as well post my articles at this website from now on in order to maximize the probability of communicating with the people without interruption.
This is a continuation of my analysis on the Eritrean Political Parties within the EDA that started way back in time at Assenna. I did my subjective analysis on about ten of the parties in the pool, the last being the Kunama Party and this is on one of the remaining parties in investigation.
The Eritrean Islamic Congress EIC: The Eritrean Islamic Congress is one of the political parties within the EDA and is chaired by Mr. Ibrahim Malik. According to the party’s website; “The Eritrean Islamic Congress is a political and public organization, working to reform the Eritrean political and social situation, to achieve freedom, justice and uphold the principles of consultation and uphold the values of religion and virtue and establish security and stability. In addition, to organize the citizens who believe in its principles, objectives and political programs and protecting them“
Among few other specifications, this political party has the following vision in Eritrea:
EIC: “Principles: Eritrean Islamic Congress deals with the reality of Eritrean situation based on the diversity of cultural, social, economic and civilization, commencing from the following principles:
1) Religion and its values, purposes and norms which are the key components of the decent Eritrean society. “
Comment: This sounds good as long as it is limited to securing the freedom of the people in freely practicing their religious beliefs in the society, which I believe so has been the case since the Ethiopian colonialism in the country and all the way until this time in experience under this regime. The question here is if this party separates religion from politics, which is not very clear from principle (1). I agree that religious values were key co-existential and ethical components of any society including ours but does this party suggest religions staying away from politics or not? Does it consider religion as a private phenomenon or as political as well?
EIC: 2) “Shura, justice and freedom, equality and human dignity, are the basic principles of politics, governance and organization.”
Discussion: Shura justice is now part of the party’s principle (2) and this provokes me to research on what it may be. One of the sources of information states the following:
“Shura (Arabic: شورى shūrā) is an Arabic word for “consultation”. The Quran and Muhammad encourage Muslims to decide their affairs in consultation with those who will be affected by that decision. Shura is mentioned three times in the Quran as a praiseworthy activity, and is a word often used in organizing the affairs of a masjid, and an Islamic organization, and in parliaments on democratic votes. “
Comment: It so seems like Shura justice depends on communal consultation instead of constitutional justice on a given case so to say. Obviously, the communities affected by this justice system may then be the Moslems and the consultants most probably being the elders or the most religious elements of the communities. The question is how the communities are expected to apply this justice system and based on what: Is it based on the Sharia or a different form of Islamic law that is obscure so far in this information? Are women allowed to be in the consultation team or it is exclusively reserved for men?
Further; “Shura in Islam: Some modern Sunni Muslims believe that Islam requires all decisions made by and for the Muslim societies to be made by shura of the Muslim community and believe this to be the basis for implementing representative democracy. Traditionally however, the Amir/Sultan/Khalifa would consult with his Wazirs (Advisors) and make a decision, after taking into consideration their opinions.
Shia Muslims say that Islam requires submission to existing rulers, however they are chosen, so long as they govern according to sharia or Islamic law. This is a more traditional approach, characteristic of many centuries of Islamic history. The difference between the two appears more semantic than actual—the latter accept that the rulers must be accounted in all aspects of ruling, to ensure affairs are managed in the best possible way whether decisions were taken through consultation or not.”
Comment: Ultimately the two types of said justice system appear very much the same with the exception that the rulers of a society take the responsibility of justice in the second Islamic denomination (Shia). The rulers are supposed to be chosen according to the Sharia and thus most probably carry on the Sharia law in delivering justice to the community. The community does its justice in the first arrangement, in what still appears of being based on Sharia law. Which one of these two the Eritrean Islamic Congress party wants to practice is still unknown but it sounds like it supports the application of Sharia either way. In whatever way the issue may be put under for discussion, this law strictly applies to Moslem communities and one wonders how the Party will manage the diversified Eritrean society should it take power in Eritrea through democratic election. Will Eritrea have two constitutions under the leadership of this political party (for the Christians and Moslems)? Is it possible to apply two religion based constitutions in diverse country such as Eritrea? Has this type of governance ever been practical in any other society in the past?
Source of Information: “Shura and contemporary Muslim-majority states: In some Muslim nations, shuras play a role in the constitution or governance. Some Muslim nations, such as Turkey, are secular democracies, and (Morocco) is a constitutional monarchy. They could thus be said to be ruled by one version of shura. For instance, the bicameral Parliament of Pakistan is officially called the Majlis-i-Shura, although the Constitution uses various spellings of the term. In Egypt, the Upper House of Parliament is known as the Shura Council. The People’s Consultative Assembly in Indonesia is called Majlis Permusyawaratan Rakyat in Indonesian language. The word musyawarat is derived from shura/syawara.
In some monarchies and clerical regimes, there is a shura with an advisory or consultative role. Saudi Arabia, a monarchy, was given a shura council, the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, in 1993; there are now 150 members. All real power is held by the King, who is elected by family members. Oman, also a monarchy has a shura council; all members are elected except the president, who is appointed by the Sultan. The council can only offer advice, which may be refused if vetoed by the Sultan.
In Iran, a council called the assembly of experts has the ability to impeach the supreme leader. In addition to that, a general shura wields legislative powers, equivalent to a modern day Western parliament.
Shuras have also been a feature of revolutions in Islamic societies, such as in the Iranian revolution of 1979, where they were formed by workers and held considerable power over parts of the economy for a year before being dismantled. Shuras were similarly a feature of the uprisings in Iraq in 1991, where they functioned as a form of participatory democracy.”
Comment: Now this being the case in the majority Moslem countries, what should be done in societies that are half Christians and half Moslems like ours? How may this political party apply the Shura in our society and what is it suggesting to do with the non-Moslem portions of our country? So far there is nothing in its vision that clearly explains these matters.
Source of information: “What is the shura principle in Islam? … It is predicated on three basic precepts. First, that all persons in any given society are equal in human and civil rights. Second, that public issues are best decided by majority view. And third, that the three other principles of justice, equality and human dignity, which constitute Islam’s moral core, … are best realized, in personal as well as public life, under shura governance.”
Comment: Are women going to be considered equal to men in this justice system? Do they have the same rights as men? To my understanding, the marriage and divorce rules for women and men are always in favor of men in Islam and this does not guarantee the equality of women in Islamic societies leaving the many other controversial issues associated with the religion aside for now. Second, what may be said majority view in Islamic societies that considers women unequal to men? One way or another I see great danger to our women in the future in this justice system. Third, if women were to be judged differently to men, how can the concept of equality and justice apply in this situation? How can women be dignified while considered different in this situation?
EIC: 5) “Arabic and Tigrinya languages are the two national official languages in Eritrea but with a consideration of other local dialects.”
Comment: This has been the norm of the Eritrean life since 1952 and I have written few articles on this at Assenna. I don’t need to discuss this in detail here. What appears different in this situation is the fact that this political party leaves a room for considering other native languages or dialects for the national language status. I found this consideration very important to the people in future Eritrea specially if applied in practice because I believe our native languages must get the same respect as Arabic to say the least.
EIC: “Eritrean Islamic Congress works to achieve the following objectives:
2. Consolidate the values of religion and good morals in the Eritrean society. “
Comment: It is not clear what ‘good morals” is supposed to mean and who decides this in a given society? Do women have the same deciding power as men in here? Do said morals conform to religious values in this case and what may the values be? How good are said values to women in terms of justice, equality and freedom?
EIC: “7. Cooperation and integration with the Arab, African and international interests so as to ensure Eritrea interests. “
Comment: Although the cooperation part sounds good in this article, I cannot understand what the integration may mean in this context. Integration is taught to mean one of the following according to a source from the Net:
1. an act or instance of incorporating or combining into a whole.
2. an act or instance of integrating a racial or other ethnic group.
3. behavior that is in harmony with the environment.
Question: What exactly does this political party want to do with its concept of Integration? I believe this must be clearly answered and taught by the Party in order to avoid confusion.
In conclusion; a balanced political society applies democracy completely free of religion and ethnic affiliation and I have no idea how we Eritreans can manage such a setup by mixing up religion with politics. The Eritrean Islamic Congress certainly claims to be democratic but yet, it projects to treat the Moslem Eritreans differently from the other portions of the society through the Shura justice system. It advocates equality of all people in the society but yet, treats men better than women by the merit of its Islamic program. By suggesting the Shura justice system in the Moslem portion of our society, this political party indirectly forecasts accommodating two constitutions in the diversified Eritrean society, where in fact geographically defined societies should adopt a common constitution to guarantee equality of its members. I found it very contradictive as such and I cannot see this party delivering equal justice to men and women because the Shura does not. I cannot see this party delivering freedom in Eritrea while at the same time forecasting of governing it with two separate constitutions. I don’t see it as a neutral political force because its vision adopts Islamic law in our diversified society where half of its composition is Christian by religious denomination. Further, its concept of integration with the Arabs for instance is not clear and more information is necessary for us to understand what this is about. Thank you