What we need to know about state security

The offices of the dissolved State Security Apparatus all look the same. They even smell the same.
I am specifically speaking here about the offices of the agents that handled religious activities and the wardens of detention facilities with whom I dealt frequently.
There is always a library behind their desks that includes books of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, Rashid Reda, Sayyid Qutb and others like them, in addition to tapes and CDs with religious content. 
Obviously, these were taken from the homes or cells of captors belonging to different Islamic currents perhaps conflicting with each other. 
I frequently dealt with officers of that apparatus, specifically four of them with whom I had extensive discussions, and one to whom I only listened. This happened on occasions that are not nice to remember.
Amazingly, many of those officers were religious in some way or another. They do their prayers and they talk about the Sharia and the discretion of a “guardian” in maintaining security. 
I never felt I was sitting with officers of a security apparatus that derived its philosophy from the civil code. Actually, they invented their own law that related but was not close to the Sharia. I would call it a “cousin of the Sharia.”
They often justified their deeds with their own interpretation of the Sharia’s jurisprudence or certain historical events. This is how they persecuted the Islamic currents.
It was not a security matter as much as it was religious. For they believed that they were the guardians of true religion. They were acting as if they were the imam Malik himself, refuting the believes of the Islamic currents and competing with them over the hearts and minds of the masses. And their tone of jealousy and condescension could not be hidden.
Some of them acted outside the framework of the law under the pretext of securing a specific town or area. And when I faced them with this, they faced me with their notion of the discretion of a guardian.
I remember the shocking news about former State Security Officer Ahmed al-Darawy who ended up as a leading figure of ISIS. Would not he have been interrogating and torturing ISIS militants had he stayed in office?
Actually, that story does not shock me at all. For in my opinion, the psychological relationship that developed between the officers of the apparatus and the Islamic movements over the last two decades produced unexpected results. 
A relationship between a warden and prisoner, or an executioner and a victim, is most complex. Trying to fathom it, theories provided explanations such as the Stockholm Syndrome.
But those theories did not explain the reverse direction of such a relationship, namely its impact on the executioner's subconscious.
An officer once told me in a moment of truth that the state security officers are not sure if what they are doing is right and therefore pray for psychological relief. Perhaps this explains why they end up religious.
Here I would like to clarify two important things:
First: I am not saying that all the officers were affected by the ideas of the Islamist detainees and turned religious. I am saying that they pretended to be so in order to justify things for themselves on religious grounds. And I am saying that the effect of the relationship was both ways.
Second: I do not have a mechanism for assessing their religiosity and the proportion of its psychological and spiritual elements. No one should judge the relationship between a person and God, even if it seemed perturbed.
However nice and democratic Darawy appeared in video clips while running in the parliamentary elections, and however long he stayed in that inhumane apparatus, he is the product of all those miserable accumulations. Those officers now suffer from what they did as well as what they turned a blind eye to. 
It is the harvest season of the recent past. And soon will the psychologically disturbed all fall.
Darawy is now dead with nothing left but his body, a body that once strove for the sake of the so-called Islamic State.
It is amazing that a terrorist like Assem Abdel Malek is enjoying the pleasures of life in Turkey, while the body of the officer who would have been persecuting him to save the country from his evil ideas lies in a sack.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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