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Stealing from the State?!

Stealing from the State?!

Published in September 18, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

Introduction: the email message we have received:

(... I am a governmental employee since 30 years, and I suffer from many diseases; my poor salary makes me hardly able to pay for food and required medicaments; this is why I got a second job (beside my original one) in the afternoon so that I can barely pay for all the needs of my family. I never take bribes, because I have a conscience and I fear our Lord Allah. I feel that my life now is a living hell because of the soaring prices. Even electricity bills have reached  hundreds of pounds every months! When my younger brother (who is addicted to the internet) gave me a used air-conditioner, as summer-heat has reached hellish degrees, I refused as I cannot pay extra electricity bills. My brother laughed and told me he'd bring an engineer to steal the electric current, so that I pay no extra money! I told him that my conscience refuses such stealing as I am an upright, pious man, but my brother scoffed and told me many things he read via the internet about how high-rank officials in all sectors of the Egyptian State steal and take bribes and never punished by law because they are in superior governmental and State bodies, and how they sell oil, arms, weapons, and pieces of lands in return for billions of US$, this is apart from commissions (millions of US$) taken by corrupt ministers an heir cronies and no one dares to hold them accountable or to question them. He told me it is enough that no one dares to ask about billions of US$ that came to Egypt as aid from the Gulf monarchies and how the State took small portion of Mubarak's ill-gotten wealth so as to let him keep the rest and never to make such money return to the State Treasury. My brother posed questions about the bank account of President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi after and before his being elected as president. But I still adamantly refuse to steal the electric current from the State for the air-conditioner. Am I adopting the right stance? Is it my right to 'steal' the electric current since our rights are confiscated by the State? What do you think? ...)




Firstly: within a Quranist vision:

1- To take what is rightfully yours is not deemed as stealing from someone or from the State. In contrast, you are not to take for yourself money sums or valuable things/items found by you in the street, for instance, as this is outright stealing if you do not give it to the police that must return it to its rightful owner. If the police would not do this, this is their own responsibility and not yours before Almighty God.  

2- That high-rank officials and ministers, etc. steal the Egyptian State is NOT a justification for you to steal, even if stealing the electric current is nothing compared to billions/millions of US$ stolen by others. Grave sins/crimes are NEVER an excuse for petty thefts.

3- Of course, you have rights as an Egyptian citizen, but these rights are confiscated by the evil mighty affluent ones whose ill-gotten wealth will make them earn Hell for eternity; even on your retirement, your monthly pension will not be that good and you will suffer more upon retiring, in contrast to thieves who forge papers to earn more than LE 10.000 as monthly pensions. Yet, it is NEVER a solution to steal your rights even by getting an electric current illegally; reasons are written in the points below. 

3/1: Those who provided electricity to your district have spent LE millions to make it reach you and other citizens; they have to be repaid. However high the electricity bills are, the State is partially right to get this money; it is hardly expected that the Egyptian State would provide electricity for free. Do not forget that there are so many employees who are oppressed and poor like you; do not harm them by stealing the electric current and they will be the ones penalized for it by their superiors. Do not forget that money of the salaries of employees like you are brought by such money derived from various bills (electricity, gas, etc.). the poor employees of the Electricity Company are not the one who are robbing you; it is totally unfair to steal the electricity current to take revenge from them because of the bills. Right?    

3/2: Of course, we admit that so many rights of yours as a citizens are confiscated and never applied; but it is hard in your case to define what is really your right to get by force without harming others and infringing their rights. Boundaries in that case are hazy and things are complicated. It is better to keep your stance and never to steal the electric current to avoid sinning by having ill-gotten money. Adhere to your piety, please.

3/3: Since matters are hazy and never defined, do not be among the unjust ones by stealing the electric current; it is nearer to piety and righteousness to avoid any chances of having ill-gotten money. Remember that sticking to piety in all cases and situations of one's life gets you nearer to Almighty God who will reward you in this world and in the Hereafter.


Secondly: within a political vision:

1- The culture of corruption spreads in Egypt to the extent that it has become a social norm justified and accepted implicitly and explicitly. 

2- As a diseased citizen, you have the right to be treated for free at the expense of the State; you might have that 'honor' only if you accept to stand in a very long queue of waiting people, and this waiting is more painful than the ailment itself. In contrast, belly-dancers are treated (from depression?!) outside Egypt for free at the expense of the State; it seems that they dance to men inside and outside Egypt in return! Sadly, pharmaceutical and medical doctors make fortunes of ill-gotten money by exploiting medical insurance and stealing its budgets by forging papers to make the affluent steal more millions of LE; this results in the death of real ill people among the poor citizens.      

3- There is a huge gap in Egypt, or rather abyss, between the minority of affluent, corrupt ones and the vast majority of oppressed wronged citizens whose rights are confiscated. Some of such oppressed, poor citizens resort to taking bribes and committing petty thefts under the pretext of getting their 'rights'. This is wrong and sinful; yet, the Egyptian culture is filled with such examples and stories and even proverbs asserting such corrupt culture within the millennia-old Egyptian State from the era of the Pharaonic ruler Mina/Narmer to the era of Al-Sisi. Stealing and robberies – we are told – have reached unprecedented levels during the presidential term of Al-Sisi!   

4- Many citizens imitate the high-rank corrupt ones by stealing within petty thefts/crimes, unlike the high-rank officials in sectors whose conditions of corruption and negligence (as well as arsons, bribes, commissions, etc.) allow them to steal and smuggle hundreds of billions of LE and/or US$. 

5- It is a hopeless case to stop such huge currents of corruption as they are linked to military tyranny that confiscates arms, weapons, power, and authority to protect its stature and wealth.   

6- Corruption increases (it will double and/or triple) as the new ruling class learned the lessons drawn from the ouster of the former president Mubarak and his regime; the new rulers in Egypt enjoyed Mubarak's trust for 30 years and they smuggle their money to foreign countries and made deals with Mubarak to act in the silly play of his being tried in court for theft and corruption, while he stayed in 5-star hotel-room of a prison! Eventually, he has been acquitted after giving them part of his ill-gotten wealth in return also for his and his family's safety. Thus, new rulers know that the more wealthy they are, the more chances they have to escape (with most of their ill-gotten wealth) and negotiate when the time comes one day!   

7- The above applies to the affluent ones who stole billions of LE or US$, as for the rest of the citizens who are poor and oppressed; they mostly commit petty thefts and reject values of honesty and hating greed etc. as we used to learn in schools of the 1960s. In fact, most people on Planet Earth are polytheists who worship Mammon (i.e., moony); and this is the plight of humanity. Wealth (small or big) brings power and greed; even impoverished citizens are foolish enough to vie for buying unnecessary items (e.g., the newest cellular phone or laptop) as they are influenced by silly advertisements and prefer to brag of their possession instead of buying food!    

8- The military regime is not fooling the poor by magnetic cards of free or cheap provisions (i.e., bread, sugar, rice, and cooking oil, etc.) for each family; medicaments and medical treatment are more important and soaring prices of all goods are ever-increasing within a maddening pace! Thus, such low-price provisions will not solve the problems of the poor on the long run. Yet, we still hope that magnetic cards system would still be valid and not be canceled!     

9- The worst scandal is torture in Egyptian police stations and prisons; this will cause the increase of the acts of violence. Victims of torture might turn into terrorists (e.g., like ISIS) as they seek revenge for their being severely humiliated while on the verge of dying of hunger. This means that rates of stealing within petty crimes would increase exponentially. We fear that one day, Egyptians will suffer lawlessness and be controlled by secular or Wahabi big thieves and mobs who apply their own unfair laws; thus, civil war and bloodshed/massacres might ensue in Egypt, especially if low-rank impoverished soldiers of the armed forces turn against high-rank generals!       

10- We never wish such dire consequences to ever occur to our beloved Egypt. We are warning against this within our 30 years of calling – in vain – for peaceful reform; we eventually find nothing but our being incarcerated and persecuted and our reputation has been tarnished in Egypt, and this has led us to be self-exiled as a political asylee.     


Lastly: we assert the following to the sender of this email message:

1- God is testing you with disease and illness; you are to remain patient and thankful within piety and righteousness to be among the winners in this world and in the next world. God will provide a way out to you for sure; God says in the Quran: "...And whoever fears God - He will make a way out for him. And will provide for him from where he never expected. Whoever relies on God - He will suffice him..." (65:2-3). 

2- Your adherence to piety must make you never steal or commit injustices even if the rest of people steal from you and commit injustices against you. Within your adherence to piety, you are nearer to God and seek refuge in Him; no one is greater than our Almighty Dominant Lord God.

3- Please ponder deeply on these verses: "...Whoever cleaves to God has been guided to a Straight Path. O you who believe! Revere God with due reverence, and do not die except as Muslims." (3:101-102).

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