The story of the Labor Party and the novel “Feast for the Seaweed”

Abul-Ela Madi started his kinetic and Islamic activity since the seventies of the last century, when he was a student at the Faculty of Engineering, where he was elected President of the Student Union of the Faculty of Engineering and then President of the Students’ Union of Minya University (in Upper Egypt) in 1977, then First Vice-President of the Egyptian Students’ Union in 1978. .

Then the stage of union work in the Syndicate of Engineers (1985 – 1995), a member of the Council of the Mechanics Division (1985), then a member of the Syndicate’s Supreme Council and an Assistant Secretary-General (1987).

Then as a reporter for the Coordination Committee between the Egyptian Professional Syndicates (1988), and as a reporter for the Committee to Support the People of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992). Then, direct political action by trying to establish the Wasat Party and resigning from the Brotherhood (1996), which were four attempts until the January 2011 revolution, during this period. Other activities with the national forces from supporting the Palestinian uprising and participating in the establishment of the Kefaya Movement and the National Association for Change and others until the January revolution and its aftermath of various political activities so far (2017).

This period included multiple travels around the world to participate in public student, trade union, political, cultural and dialogue activities in Arab, Islamic, Western and Eastern countries, during which contact and acquaintance took place with important and influential figures in all parts of the earth, including scholars, thinkers, politicians, academics, clerics, media professionals and others.

“Arabic 21I spoke to Abu Al-Ala Madi and offered him to record his opinion on the course of the contemporary Islamic movement in Egypt and the Arab and Islamic world, and after an in-depth discussion, and in view of the rapid transformations taking place in the Arab region and the world, of which political Islam is one of its main pillars, we ended up publishing a series of episodes On the relations that brought Abi El-Ala Madi together with a number of symbols and leaders of Islamic action in Egypt and the world, figures who left their mark not only in the experiences of their countries, but also in the course of contemporary political Islam as a whole.

The Labor Party’s crisis..caused by a Syrian narrative

The last time we stopped at the crisis that hit the Labor Party and its newspaper “Al-Shaab” – which was the first opposition newspaper at that time – because of the novel “A Feast for Seaweeds” in 2000 AD. What is this crisis and its circumstances?

First – The novel The Cause of the Crisis is a novel entitled “A Feast for Seaweeds” by the Syrian writer Haider Haidar. It was first published in 1983 in Beirut, and was republished in 2000 in a series issued by the General Authority for Cultural Palaces affiliated to the Ministry of Culture.

The novel tells about Iraqi communist intellectuals who emigrated from Iraq after one of the massacres there, and went to Algeria, and the protagonist of the novel ended up dying by suicide at sea to be a feast for his herbs. Al-Osboa, headed by the writer Mustafa Bakri, but no one paid any attention to it, until the newspaper “Al-Shaab” re-published on April 24 (April 2000) excerpts from what was mentioned on its front page and main posts accompanied by an article by the Islamic writer Dr. Muhammad Abbas entitled: There is no god but God.. Whoever pledges allegiance to me on death.. your hands will repent.. only the Qur’an remains.”

These headlines drew the attention of large sectors of public opinion to the matter of the novel, accusing the newspaper of the novel and its writer of open disbelief and insulting the divine, and considering that what had befallen the nation as a result of this novel is an insult worse than the defeat of the Arabs at the hands of Israel in 1967 AD, and the demand of public opinion, religious institutions, parties, unions and universities By moving, the writer even asked President Mubarak to act, as well as his wife Suzanne Mubarak, and as a result of that, many imams sermons in mosques against this novel, and demonstrations took place in universities – including Al-Azhar University – against the offensive novel, and the Islamic Research Academy of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif issued a report against it. The novel, considering that what was stated in it is “a departure from public morals, and it is against religious sanctities,” noting that “the novel incites to a breach of Islamic law and blatantly departed from public morals by calling for illegal sex.” The report condemned the Ministry of Culture’s publication of this novel.

The Supreme State Security Prosecution also charged two officials responsible for publishing the novel with “publishing a publication calling for disgrace to the divine and insulting Islam and public morals: the editor-in-chief of the “Afaq Al-Kitaab” series – from which the novel was issued – the writer / Ibrahim Aslan, and the director of Editing the series, the storyteller / Hamdi Abu Jalil.

Farouk Hosni and his men, Jaber Asfour, Salah Fadl and others, stood in the side of the novel, the Minister of Culture – who planted the left throughout the Ministry of Culture as no one had done before. In promoting it, and that the novel did not distribute a thousand copies and the rest of the copies were withdrawn to the stores of the Ministry of Culture, and considered that the attack on the novel and on it is primarily a political campaign, and that this campaign is a form of provocation and intellectual terrorism regardless of the novel’s literary value.

While Dr. Jaber Asfour’s defense of the novel itself was stronger than that of the Minister of Culture, when he said: “The novel is one of the best contemporary Arab novels at all, and those who accuse it of infidelity are a group of political pressure groups who disguise themselves under religious masks, terrorize intellectuals and creators, and fight all Who defends the civil state?

In my opinion, the decision to freeze the Labor Party and close the newspaper was not only because of their position on the novel “A Feast for the Seaweed” and their incitement of public opinion against the authority that insults their faith. 1987 AD, as well as exposing many policies of President Mubarak’s regime and its symbols.

On the other hand, Al-Azhar through the Research Academy and many of its scholars attacked the novel, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement against the novel, and lawyers from it submitted a complaint to the Public Prosecutor against it, as well as many Islamic figures and university students who demonstrated their rejection of what was stated in the novel Which they considered an insult to the divine and Islamic values ​​and morals.

The position of the state authorities was strange. On the one hand, copies of the novel were withdrawn from the market, and the Supreme State Security Prosecution began investigating those responsible for its publication. The Council of Ministers asked the Minister of Culture for a report on the novel, which he assigned to his loyal men such as Dr. Salah Fadl and Dr. Jaber Asfour, They are all known for their extreme secularism, so they wrote a report exonerating the minister and the novel.

At the same time, a political decision was issued to get rid of the Labor Party and its newspaper “Al-Shaab”, which continued for several weeks to publish on the same subject, “The Novel” and its contents, so the state security forces pushed some former dissidents from the party – socialists who left the party years before in protest. On turning to Islamic thought – to occupy some of the Labor Party headquarters in Heliopolis and Nasr City, and to hold conferences in which they announced the dismissal of the party’s head, Engineer Ibrahim Shoukry, and the appointment of a dissident as their head. Ministers) for not recognizing any of the contestants over the leadership of the party, freezing it and closing its newspaper.

The party went to the administrative judiciary of the State Council and the Supreme Administrative Court and issued several rulings – some of them final from the Supreme Administrative Court – to cancel the party freeze and return the newspaper, but Mubarak’s authority insisted on not implementing these provisions, which exceeded eleven, and the matter remained as it is until The death of the late Mr. Adel Hussein in 2001 AD, and after him the death of the late Eng. Ibrahim Shukri in 2008 AD.

As I mentioned, despite the fact that the Labor Party and its newspaper “Al-Shaab” stood with the Brotherhood in their crisis during the military trials, many of the party’s leaders felt that the Brotherhood did not support them in this crisis sufficiently.


As for Mr. Adel Hussein’s friends from the left, they were shocked by his position on the novel, as they considered that this position contradicts his history of belief in freedom, including freedom of creativity, and his response was that “the freedom of creativity is guaranteed as long as it does not clash with people’s religion and beliefs,” and when he replied to him Some (why is this violent attack on the novel that contributed to its promotion?) He said: Because the novel was published from the people’s taxpayer money – meaning from the Ministry of Culture money and not from a private publisher – and this justifies the attack on the Minister of Culture for wasting people’s money in spreading ideas that clash with their faith and their feelings.

In any case, in my opinion, the decision to freeze the Labor Party and close the newspaper was not only because of their position on the novel “A Feast for the Seaweed” and their incitement of public opinion against the authority that insults their faith. The Brotherhood in the 1987 parliamentary elections, as well as exposing many policies of the Mubarak regime and its symbols.

That was the final scene of Professor Adel Hussein’s experience with the Labor Party and the People’s Newspaper, and part of his biography remains related to his positions on foreign issues, as well as his position on our experience in the Wasat Party.

Next time, God willing.

Read also: Abul-Ela Madi: Adel Hussein started his life as a Marxist and ended as an Islamic one

Read also: Abul-Ela Madi tells the story of the alliance of the Brotherhood and the left-wing Labor Party

Read also: Abul-Ela Madi: This is the reality of the Egyptian Brotherhood’s relationship with the Labor Party



Source: عربي21 by arabi21.com.

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