Following are excerpts from an interview with Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa, General Guide of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, which aired on Dubai TV on June 11, 2012:
Interviewer: What kind of constitution do you propose for Syria?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: We have said that it would be “a civil constitution.”
Interviewer: What about the clause about the religion of the president, or about the source of authority for the constitution and the laws?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: With respect to the religion of the president, my view is that the president should be elected by the people – whether he is a Muslim, A Christian, or whatever. We have no problem with the choice of the people.
Interviewer: You support a Christian president in Syria?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: I have no objection…
Interviewer: What about a woman?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: I have no objection to the candidacy of a woman, a Christian, or anyone. The people will decide. If the Syrian people elects a Christian or a woman as president, we will accept that. I do not support stating the religion of the president in the constitution.
Interviewer: What if the people elects Bashar Al-Assad again?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: Bashar is finished.
Our approach states that we deal and talk with all parties equally. Obviously, our anti-American position stems from US aggression against our countries, but if the US adopts reasonable statesmanship, and acknowledges Syria as an equal state… We have no objection to political and economic ties with any country in the region and all over the world.
Interviewer: What about Iran?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: Even with Iran. But if Iran decides to exercise its tyranny and hegemony in the region, we will oppose it. We support cooperation with all the countries of the region.
Interviewer: Do you want to liberate the Golan?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: Of course. It is our right. Are we supposed to acquiesce to the occupation of our land?
Interviewer: By fighting?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: By all possible means. If it can be done peacefully, all the better.
Interviewer: What about Alexandretta Province?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: We have nothing to do with it.
Interviewer: But it is occupied land…
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: We are not discussing the divisions of Sykes-Picot. All these countries – Turkey, Syria – were one country.
Interviewer: But when we are talking about occupied Syrian land, we mean the Golan as well as Alexandretta Province.
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: Who delineated these borders? Who said that Alexandretta Province belongs to one country and not another? Was this done by us or by Sykes-Picot?
Interviewer: But the population there is Syrian…
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: Says who?
Interviewer: They have families in Syria…
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: Who says they are Syrians?
Interviewer: They speak Arabic, and all their families are in Syria.
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: Many in Turkey speak Arabic. These borders were delineated by the superpowers. It will be discussed in due course, but the Golan is our occupied land…
Interviewer: You have always accused both Assads, Hafez and Bashar, of selling out the Golan and Alexandretta. Just because you’ve become close to the Turks, it’s difficult for you to…
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: These matters will be discussed in due course. At the end of the day, they will not cause any problem. The Golan, however, was occupied only recently. It was only yesterday.
Interviewer: That’s exactly what the regime is saying. They say that they cannot liberate the Golan right now with weapons, and that they reserve the right to respond. You are saying the same thing.
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: But they never do respond. They [flew] over the presidential palace, and the regime did not respond. The regime has no intention of liberating the Golan.
Interviewer: If Israel is willing to give the Golan back to Syria peacefully in return for [Syrian] recognition of Israel, will you go for it?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: This will be decided by the new Syrian parliament. It will be decided by the Syrian people. When there is democracy in Syria, the Syrian people will decide on this.
Interviewer: But what is the position of [the MB] movement on this?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: We haven’t studied this issue. The issue of Israel…
Interviewer: Israel is Syria’s number one enemy. Is it conceivable that you have no studied this issue?!
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: It’s up to the Palestinians. We support the position of the Palestinian people on this.
My opinion is that we will not recognize that country, which is alien to this region.
Interviewer: So you won’t recognize Israel?
Muhammad Riyadh Al-Shaqfa: No, we won’t.