Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya would pose a threat to the ruling military establishment as well as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Even without this group as a formal political entity, however, disagreement over enforcement of the specific tenets of Sharia threatens to be a destabilizing force in Egypt. Since Sharia governs every aspect of Islamic life, there can always be more of it to enforce. As Imam Rauf knows, where they are believed to be Allah’s own laws, Sharia’s rules do not lend themselves to compartmentalization. Someone will always demand more and be willing to fight and overthrow governments to get it.
Meanwhile, as a formerly “militant” group, al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya’s reaction bears watching. They “renounced” violence following an earlier uprising, but we may yet find out how much they meant it. “Egypt bars Islamist hard-liner political party,” from the Associated Press, September 19:
CAIRO (AP) “” Egypt has barred formation of a new political party by an Islamist group that was once involved in a bloody insurgency against the government.
Egypt’s state news agency said the Political Parties’ Affairs Committee rejected on Monday the request by al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya because its proposed party is based on “religious grounds in violation of the law”.
It was also rejected because it advocates a strict interpretation of Islamic law, under which thieves can be punished by cutting off their hands and murderers can face beheading.
Amputation for theft is prescribed in Qur’an 5:38. That is why it keeps appearing where Sharia is enforced, and why Islamic groups keep demanding it.
Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, once Egypt’s largest militant group, waged an insurrection against the government in the 1990s, but have since renounced violence.