Cursing is not politics (2)

تم نشره في Sun 30 November / Nov 2014. 03:50 PM

By Ayman Safadi

The arrest of the deputy leader of the Brotherhood Muslims Zaki Bani Irsheid pending investigation against the backdrop of cursing the United Arab Emirates triggered heated debate about the legality of his detention before the constitutional court and the legislation by which he is being prosecuted. This controversy is both healthy and necessary.

His arrest before conviction is rejected unless the decision came by the judiciary to ward off harm either public or specific. And the legal texts that criminalize writings that disturb relations with a foreign country are loose, vague, and needs amendment governed by clear legal definitions, and consistent with the constitutional right to freedom of expression.

In light of this, one cannot underestimate and the merits of the objections to the arrest before conviction that are based on the controversial legislation, both constitutionally and legislation wise. However, Bani Irsheid issue is not confined to the legal dimension that will be decided by the judiciary; there is a political-moral aspect that requires a lot of debate.

The right to freedom of expression does not allow for the disparagement and defamation of the other. What Bani Irsheid wrote on the UAE was all that. And what he said about Jordan previously and again was the worse.

 And here lies the surprising political conviction. The Deputy Director General for the Brotherhood is a public figure in an organization that presents itself as the largest political party in the country. This position imposes on him a responsibility to promote the general rhetoric, not take it down with curses and insults.

It is understandable that Bani Irsheid objects to the decision of the UAE to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. However, it is not understood that his reply comes as it did; filled with defamation that is breaking away from the political credibility that we are supposed to see in political arguments.

His position within the group makes him a role model at least within those affiliated with it. How does this compare to public work ethics, and to other brotherhood leaders who expressed their positions firmly and clearly but through political language even in the darkest crises with the state?

Additionally, Bani Irsheid political work in Jordan calls for him to prioritize the interests of the Kingdom and its people over his organizational affiliations. Cursing Arab countries that are allies with Jordan, supports it and stands with it in the face of internal and regional conditions that are extremely difficult does not reflect the necessary care that should be undertaken when dealing with national interests.

Also, Bani Irsheid defamation does not reflect truth; The UAE’s classification of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization banned from working within its borders does not make it a failed state lacking legitimacy.

On the ground, that state - after some time – will celebrate its forty-third anniversary. During this short period, the UAE grew developmentally and economically to be among the best in the world, and studies of the United Nations said that its people is happiest among the Arabs.

Emirates has also created a pluralistic, open society in the only successful unitary Arab state in the modern era. Citizens from around two hundred nationalities, including almost two hundred and fifty thousand Jordanian, enjoy employment and achievement opportunities to live in peace and security and respect. The foreign assistance it provides is the highest in the world relative to its gross domestic product.

This is not a failure. But generalization is an easy way out of specific arguments.

Disagreement on a subject does not allow for negating someone’s rights and achievements. The same logic that does not accept the arrest of Bani Irsheid before his conviction despite the complete rejection of his argument requires not accepting his defamation of the UAE and detract from the achievements despite their classification of the Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

However, despite this, again, cursing is not politics. And the use of insults as political expression by a leading-partisan figure pushes essential questions about the intellectual and moral distortions that sanction the general political space, under allegations of democratization and freedom of expression.



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition