At one of my polling place visits, a van full of women that had been brought to vote for Nour called me over to extol the Nour Party’s virtues. “They are good people and serve the community,” said Nour al-Hoda Desouki, excitedly holding a Nour party sample ballot. “We are a conservative people but we’ll talk to you.” But her good deed couldn’t go unpunished. A Nour representative swiftly approached my translator and told us to stop talking to women.Translating Jihad quotes El Fagr:
Still, I humored the Salafists. If they were truly “open to anything,” would they support allowing Egyptian hotels to continue serving alcohol to tourists? “In my opinion, no,” said Mehdi, the Nour activist handing out party programs by the polling station. “Because it’s forbidden.”
“But the people who drink aren’t Muslims,” my translator, himself a committed Muslim, interjected.
“They have to respect the country,” Mehdi replied. “Like in Germany, people respect the country and have to speak German. You have to respect the country you’re in, even if you disagree.”
Well, what would be your policy towards Christians? Would you force them to pay the jizya – the special tax that Muslim rulers historically imposed on non-Muslim minorities to pay for Islamic wars? “They already pay it through their taxes,” Sherif, another local Nour coordinator, said. “Each society has its own revenue sources—in Islam, it’s zakat for Muslims and jizya for non-Muslims. Even they have to serve in the community, whether they’re Christians or Jews. They pay jizya because we offer security.”
Finally, I turned to foreign policy. What is your view of Camp David, I asked. “I heard about Camp David when I was a kid and I heard from people and our scholars that it is unjust for us,” Sherif said. “But I never read it. I don’t want war with Israel. So Israel must leave the part that it took from me.” Which part? “Israel should withdraw from all of Palestine—not just the West Bank or Gaza.” I gave him a confused look. “I never denied that some Jews lived there before.” On that note, I said goodbye.
As we headed back to the cab, our driver—who had sat in for that last part—nodded approvingly. “They’re really good people,” he said. Though he’s not an Islamist himself, he had voted for Nour earlier in the week. Why? “They’re honest.”
A candidate for the salafi Nour Party, Ahmad 'Umran, expressed his surprise at being asked, "Who are you, and what is your role in politics?" He responded by saying, "They act as if we came from Mars and just landed here."
He added, "The Copts should not forget that we were the ones who freed them from the hands of the Romans, and that jizya is only half a dinar, which is taken from the rich and given to their poor." This came during the Friday sermon at the Mosque of the Court in the city center of Abnub.
(h/t Anna Ekstrom, jzaik)