Statement by H.E. President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the occasion marking the Birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Friday، 09 December 2016 - 11:45 AM
In the Name of Allah the Most Merciful and Compassionate
Your Reverence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sherif;
Your Reverence scholars and preachers;
Ladies and gentlemen;
Allow me in the beginning to greet the Egyptian people and all Arab and Islamic peoples on the occasion of the Birthday of our honorable Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). I pray to Allah the Almighty to return the occasion with welfare on the great Egyptian people and on all Muslims in the four corners of the globe.
Our celebration of the prophet of mercy and guidance is a good occasion to think carefully about our state of affairs comparing today with yesterday seeking answers to the questions of our age while inspired by the greatness of our heritage and its everlasting lessons.
I tell you frankly and clearly that a long way is still ahead of us if we would like to really commemorate the anniversary of the great prophet. It is a road of hard work with hope for a better future. It is a road of patience and tolerance over the hardship of that road while looking forward to getting the reward of the patient who are standing against all difficulties with all faith in success of our efforts for progress and prosperity.
We should learn, throughout that road, that we need a comprehensive approach towards all our issues and challenges and that concentration on one aspect will not bear fruit. The Messenger (PBUH) led a massive revolution of intellectual, social, economic and political transformation. We hope, while we are guided by his blessed tradition, to address our issues with the same valor and bravery of the honorable prophet (PBUH). One of the first challenges from which we suffer for long time is the dissociation between the religious discourse in one hand and the core of Islam and the needs of our modern age on the other. We have taken up that issue before and our scholars and intellectuals were unanimous that we are badly in need to modernize the religious discourse for rectifying the accumulated wrong concepts that were caused either through the passing of years or through some people who planned to conceal their evil intentions and disguise under a sacred cloak to justify their terrorism for the innocent people and give themselves an immunity against punishment which will be administered against them sooner or later in as much as the wrong they did and the destruction, harm and pain they caused.
We are required today to think carefully while being inspired by the autobiography of the honorable prophet and to stand up with bravery against any alien teachings to our upright and correct religion so that we can rectify them in line with true Islam and the real message of Allah the Almighty to mankind. We should think carefully to refuse what is against reason and against humanity. We have to modernize interpretations that were reached by our ancestors. We have to work for carving out peace inside our country through faith and science to prove to the whole world that Islam is a great religion and that it made of us a great nation that can renew itself and contribute to the development of the human civilization in a way that is commensurate with the greatness of its religion.
While we are confirming our determination and resolve to continue in this major intellectual battle for rectifying and modernizing the religious discourse, we would not miss making reference to the fact that we will continue with the same determination all aspects of the battle asserting that there is no room inside Egypt for terrorism and its groups, ideas and practices. Our confrontation against terrorism through the military and security means will continue and the sacrifices of the sons of the Armed Forces and civil police will be a source of inspiration and dignity for every Egyptian. These sacrifices will not go in vain. Rather, they will produce a safe and dignified homeland inside which we and our sons will enjoy decent life.
I would like to make reference at this point to the fact that we have addressed the issue of rectifying and modernizing the religious discourse on more than one occasion. This is not luxury but a necessity which we should address carefully; especially that the idea of religions as a whole started in our today's world to be violated and to fade away as many people started now being cautious about religion in light of what the world is witnessing of atrocities that are committed in the name of religion. This state of affairs led some people to renounce the Takfiri thought and even disbelieve in the idea of religion as a whole. This is why we defend, through rectifying the religious discourse, not only Islam but also all religions and the core of their ideas. This makes rectifying the religious discourse one of the most important issues at large. I have talked over the past period about this issue with the Minister of Awqaf and confirmed to him that rectifying the religious discourse should not touch the basic pillars of religion. It should rather be a call to use a discourse that is suitable for our age and its requirements for reaching a real understanding of religion so that we can overcome that state of division from which our societies, particularly Egypt, are suffering. I have noted that we need forming a committee of senior scholars and professors of sociology and psychology to address the points of weakness and strength in the Egyptian society so that they would clear the texts and outline a road map that includes all religious occasions throughout the year. Then they would outline an accurate plan over five years that is aimed at entrenching understanding of the true religion nationwide in all governorates. The issue of rectifying the religious discourse should not be reduced to the idea of a unified Friday sermon. Allow me on this score to confirm my appreciation for the role undertaken by Al Azhar Al Sherif as an edifice of enlightenment that is contributing to reviving the true religion, especially in light of efforts by some persons to intimidate people using religion and to undermine the State for applying destructive ideas. They spent large amounts of money for this purpose. Some people have betted last month that the homeland will fall down. I tell them all that Allah is siding with us; especially that we did not conspire against anybody. We did not cheat or kill anybody. Rather, we will continue building and reconstructing.
We confirm that the Egyptian vision on the Middle East region is based on respecting the sovereignty of the national State and urging the international community to pool all efforts together for uprooting the terrorist groups. It is also based on not differentiating between the dangers that are posed by these groups and deal with all these dangers by one criterion.
Ladies and gentlemen;
The valor and bravery with which our honorable prophet addressed the issues of his age require us to think carefully in one simple and clear fact; which is that many of our modern problems are escalating due to hesitation in addressing them. If our problems were addressed seriously from the beginning, they would not have become complicated and their cost would not be that high today. I would give you an example of the economic situation. It is well known to experts of economy since decades that our economy is in need of structural reform that would reach the roots of its structure not only the branches or the surface. We all Egyptians know that and the whole world knows that these economic reform decisions are not any easy task or a picnic. Rather, they are difficult and need patience and sacrifice and that without this medicine we will remain sapping ourselves to the extent that, God forbid, we will reach a standstill; a state of affairs which we will never allow to happen.
We have started a difficult road. We the Egyptians decided with bravery to move along that road and to stand up to its difficulties with brave hearts depending on ourselves and after all on Allah the Almighty with a view to creating hope for the coming generations and for rescuing ourselves from a difficult economic situation; which if left without being addressed, will overcome all of us and undermine our future and the future of our sons.
We are together leading a major transformation and moving with studied steps. We do not apply a routine economic agenda. Rather, we adopt a scientific approach that is taking carefully into consideration all the requirements of our economy in these circumstances with a view to making Egypt a development country. We seek opening the doors of our country to serious investment which creates jobs for our young people and transfers modern technology. We seek establishing creative cooperation between the State and the Egyptian and foreign private sector. We do not spare any effort for fighting corruption with all firmness. We work with unwavering determination for guaranteeing equal opportunities for all the sons of the country. I would like in this regard to salute the Administrative Control Authority for its efforts on this score. I confirm that we will continue confronting corruption with all firmness while working for adopting all required legal mechanisms. I would like to assert that confronting corruption will not be undertaken through the political will alone. Rather, the public opinion should believe in the necessity of fighting corruption and that we all together should confront it without any favoritism with anybody. For my part, I send every month a letter to all State institutions underlining the necessity of not using favoritism with anybody. I urge on this score all officials not to use any favoritism with anybody as all are equal before the law. Throughout all this, we hear the complaints of some people from the pains caused by real reform. We feel it and work seriously to alleviate that pain through expanding social protection networks. We are sympathizing with everybody who is working hard to lead decent life for himself and his family. We confirm to them that the State with all its institutions and agencies is exerting all efforts for providing better life for all Egyptians. We confirm to everybody who work hard in Egypt for earning their living that we are supporting you and that we are moving together along the right road. Skeptics will not sap our will and we, as Egyptians, will not surrender our minds to those who would like to fling us backward. We will complete what we have started and we will fulfill our goal with the help of Allah to make Egypt strong, prosperous and dignified. I am aware that the situation is difficult and prices are high. But I would like to confirm that we have been late in reform. This is why we had to take the recent economic decisions. We had two options; either starting now with taking measures for real and tangible reform or postponing it so that somebody else would take these difficult decisions but, in this case, will undermine our country. Therefore there was no any other option than taking these measures. I would like to note that the cost of the past six years was so high. We are paying now these costs through reform. Salaries alone have increased over the past years to 230 billion pounds against 80 billion while there were no resources to cover that increase. It was covered through borrowing so that loans hit 900 billion pounds whose service alone reaches 150 billion pounds. The past years have seen real gains but also created challenges. We are working seriously to ease the burdens of the economic decisions on the low-income segments. I think that the current exchange rate of the dollar will not last for long as it is not fair. This will take some time. Therefore, I have issued directives to the government to work for providing all basic commodities at affordable prices and maintaining the strategic stock for at least six months to contain the fallout of price hikes on the needy people. I also confirm that the price of the loaf of bread will not be touched as the State is keen on maintaining and stabilizing the prices of services it extends to the citizens despite the increasing cost which the State shoulders. I salute on this score with all appreciation the Egyptian people who proved to be a great people who supported their country and maintained it against any harm and against the evil will of those who spend funds for undermining the State instead of contributing to alleviate the suffering of the people.
In conclusion, I urge you all to be inspired by the traits of the great prophet; the prophet of mercy and guidance such as wisdom and patience in difficult times while his heart was full of courage that is emanating from his faith in Allah the Almighty. We should be guided by his mercy with the weak and his firmness and decisiveness with the oppressors and those who are doing wrong.
Thank you and happy returns