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Former Minister of Endowments and Current Islah Parliament Member Dr. Kaleb Al-Qurashi:
“Having different opinions is never a sign for division, but rather it is a sign of a healthy dialogue. Praises be to Allah that we are not fighting over posts and interests. We race and compete through this blessed party to serve the country and Islam.”
  Interviewed By: Hakim Almasmari (YEMEN POST STAFF)
  Article Date:
September 08, 2008



Yemen Post: What is your stance on partnering woman in the political process in general?

Dr. Khaleb Al-Qurashi: First of all, let me thank you for giving me the chance to talk, and I congratulate you on the immense success your paper has achieved despite its recent establishment. Regarding your question, we, at Islah Party, are keen to grant a woman her rights without pressure or any negligence. Personally, I see that any person living under Islam, whether man or woman, has the right to learn and exercise political undertakings. However, I do not see that woman's political participation will solve the problems of people. In the same time, I cannot say that every man is fit for politics or any political post, and the same applies to women and both can practice politics within the frame of ethical norms.

YP: Do you expect that Islah Party  women will force their party to accept them as candidates in the future?

KQ: Islah women are not different from their fellow men. They have been raised on principles of propagation and Islamic values. They do not run after personal interests and there is, in fact, no difference between women and men in the party. Instead, they abide by what is decided by the party's institutions. They are not denied or deprived of any rights for them to react against the party or run after their personal interests. If we reach power, which I see it very much approaching, especially under the current failing situation and people's loss of trust, we will rule justly.  

YP: Recently, there has been a division among scholars as for woman's blood money. As a professor of Sharia (Islamic Law), which stance do you support?

KQ: Halving woman's blood money is built in Islamic Sharia through four Hadiths [Prophet’s Sayings], considering that unintentional killing is not made aggressively. That is because most women do not support their families. Personally, I am for halving woman's blood money. 

YP: You, in Islah Party, always accuse the ruling party of rigging elections, are you not one of those who won in the parliamentary elections?

KQ: My win or failure could not evidence elections integrity or rigging. Integrity or rigging is evidenced by other indications. We do not complain about rigging as much as we complain about voters register, running the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum and exploiting state resources. The resources are exploited for the interest of one party: state presidency, public money, media, jobs and judiciary. Judges are forced to issue premeditated rulings as was the case in Fahd Al-Qarni's trial or other trials. One of the judges was moved from the capital to a remote district after he refused to trial a person in absentia. Such a behavior could affect the democratic process.

YP: What did Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) in general and Islah in particular gain from boycotting local elections?

KQ: Neither JMP nor Islah boycotted the local elections in the past. If we decide to boycott the forthcoming parliamentary elections, this will not mean we will remain asleep. Instead, we will step up the peaceful struggle.

YP: Recently, there has been a visible division in Islah Party, especially in party's contradictory statements of high ranking leaders. Is there a clear policy for the party in this respect?

KQ: Having different opinions is never a sign for division, but rather it is a sign of a healthy dialogue. Praises be to Allah that we are not fighting over posts and interests. We race and compete through this blessed party to serve the country and Islam.  

YP: What is your opinion of Sheikh Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani's proposal for establishing an authority for the promotion of virtue?

KQ: Establishing an authority for promoting virtue is something urgently needed. It was available during the Islamic Caliphate, and it exists now in some countries. Recently, there has been a slight fault about the initiative particularly when it was not carefully studied. This made people think that they received direct directives from authorities. Meanwhile, state is accused of not activating the existing authorities like Yemen's Scholars Association, Fatwa Authority, General Prosecution, Counseling and Guidance Sector at Endowments Ministry and the Supreme Institute for Counseling and Guidance. None will fear this authority but vice proponents.

YP: Some analysts see that this virtue authority could be a reason for affecting Islah party's relations with some parties in JMP?

KQ: As far as I know, Islah and other JMP parties have the same view about the authority. All are for promoting virtue and prohibiting vice; however, they are against an authority run by  the ruling party. 

YP: Parliament has discussed the case of  Sheikh Mohammed Al-Moayyad and his companion Zaid, what have you done so far?

KQ: Sheikh Al-Moayyad's issue was raised in parliament and our great state failed to do anything. 

YP: Being the head of Justice and Endowments Committee at Parliament and former Endowments Minister, what is the reason for the weak performance of judiciary which compels people to take their rights by their own hands instead of resorting to judicial authorities?

KQ: I think the key reason for the weak performance of judiciary lies in the fact that a judge is not independent.

YP: In a parliamentarian report, you mentioned cases that have been suspended for the last 14 years in courts, what did parliament do about them?

KQ: We, Justice and Endowments Committee at Parliament, submitted not only one report but several reports to parliament following field visits to Justice Ministry, Judicial Inspection Authority, Supreme Judicial Institutes as well as prosecutions in the capital Sana'a and provinces. The picture is not all black as there are some positive points. Delaying cases and ruling implementations do materially exist. The committee's reports have been delayed by parliament presidency board for two or three years. When the report is released, the board allows reading the report and Justice Minister is summoned to hear the sessions; however, the whole matter is formal.     

YP: Do you agree with those who say that Yemeni laws suffer shortcomings that allow lawyers to prolong trailing?

KQ: There exist shortcomings with the majority of effective laws in Yemen, and they are being reconsidered. However, this is not the reason for prolonging trail procedures.

YP: What is the benefit behind JMP representatives' withdrawal ahead  of the voting for the elections law?

KQ: Boycotting the session came in implementation of JMP leadership's directives and in protest against not releasing the political prisoners.

YP: Did not Islah MP Abdul Rahman Bafadhel say that there was 99 percent agreement on elections matters between both sides?

KQ: What Bafadhel said was made in response to a moment of optimism and what he said is his own opinion and not that of JMP.

YP: Some say that you, in JMP, failed to propose a satisfying list?

KQ: This is not correct and JMP has competent people to run a whole state and not a commission. However, we delayed submitting the list until political prisoners' release was secured.

YP: Some politicians say that JMP lost huge when it did not provide the list?

KQ: This is the case with political stances. Once you win and once you lose. However, everything is balanced under criterion of the positive or negative outcomes. Providing the names of candidates for assuming the membership of elections commission will have more negative points than positive.

YP: Do you think that conflict among opposition coalition will be the start for its end?

KQ: Who told you that there are conflicts among opposition parties? It has been proved over years that JMP is strong because it is built on national and Islamic principles. During the previous crisis and elections, JMP came out with a more powerful position.   

YP: Does JMP intend to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections?

KQ: It is too early to speak of such a decision and it is decided by the JMP higher committee after consulting every party's field leaders. However, participation option in elections is still standing. 

YP: Don’t you think that intensifying the southern Yemen crisis could lead to a civil war?

KQ: What JMP and its followers do comes within the frame of law and constitution. This can not be considered intensification. They are merely peaceful practices; however, every peaceful practice or claim for rights is considered by state to be resurrection and sedition thus, it resorts to force and arbitrary arrests.

YP: In your opinion, what is the way out of the crisis the country is facing today?

KQ: Escaping the current crisis lies in state commitment to constitution and effective laws, giving up the exploitation of state resources, resorting to Sharia and Yemeni law to resolve any differences, and not to forget removing corrupt officials.