By Nasser Al-Azzazi
The Muslim Brotherhood has begun targeting the country’s Salafis, said Al-Nour Party Chairman Younis Makhyoun at a conference held Friday night in the city of Bir Al-Abed in North Sinai, after the opening of the, Mo’ath bin Jabal mosque in the city’s fourth village, as part of an Al-Nour Party delegation visiting the Sinai peninsula for a period of two days.
Makhyoun cited the recent arrest of Yasser Al-Borhamy, Deputy Chairman of the Al-Da’wa Al-Salafia, at the Borg Al-Arab airport, for holding views in opposition to the Brotherhood’s. He went on to say that the Brotherhood does not have the courage to admit that they were behind Al-Borhamy’s arrest, especially after the Interior Ministry’s recent announcement stating that they had no hand in the matter.
Makhyoun stated that the Muslim Brotherhood first began to attack Al-Nour Party after the latter launched its Stop the Violence initiative, which was signed in front of the Presidential Palace and supported by a number of the country’s opposition parties and organisations, including the National Salvation Front (NSF). He stated that, “we have been subject to attacks since our recent meeting with members of the NSF, despite it being a part of a broader attempt to meet with all of Egypt’s various opposition parties”.
Makhyoun added that he had not expected such a positive reception for his party’s recent initiative, saying that, “Al-Sayed Al-Badawi contacted me recently regarding Al-Nour Party’s initiative, saying that he wanted to discuss it, as many members of the NSF said they supported it”. He added, “We met with all of Egypt’s political parties to present our initiative, so what’s wrong with engaging in dialogue with the NSF? Is there any justification rooted in Sharia saying that we cannot?”
He added that there were no reasons in Sharia preventing Al-Nour Party members from meeting with the NSF, saying that the latter are “not infidels”. He added, “We met them for the purpose of working towards a common shared interest. Yes, we differ from them in opinion on many issues, however even the Prophet Muhammad met at times with non-believers and polytheists. Just because we have met with liberals doesn’t mean we have become their allies.”
He also stated, “we had previously met with members of the Muslim Brotherhood in their Guidance Bureau headquarters, signing a series of ‘confidence’ agreements with them. Now, they claim we are dividing the Islamist camp.
Makhyoun accused the Brotherhood of having violated all the agreements signed with them. In response to Brotherhood accusations that his party was dividing the Islamist camp, Makhyoun says he “happily challenges them to go toe-to-toe with us on any number of theological issues”, from the legitimacy of Islamic bonds to the extension of local cabaret licences.
Responding to a question regarding Egypt’s previous Constituent Assembly, Makhyoun replied that Al-Nour Party was isolated during the drafting process. He claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood, liberals and the Coptic Church were all united against them, and that if it had not been for the Salafis, the constitution would have turned out a disaster.
He blamed President Morsi’s political advisors for pushing him to make poor decisions, particularly with regards to the parliamentary election laws currently under review. He said that Al-Nour party in particular had begun to come under attack from the Brotherhood after their refusal to take part in protests outside Egypt’s High Court against the judiciary. He justified not participating by saying that the reputation of any country is tied to that of its judiciary, and that the party was shocked at the Brotherhood’s latest Judiciary Law, which he described as “fueling the country’s judiciary crisis”.
He went on to say that the current Qandil government was, “a failure”, particularly with regards to the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis, which he quoted President Morsi as saying would not affect Egypt. He added that, “such situations are serious, with Ethiopian bravado being the result of weak statements and positions being taken by the government”. He stated that the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project will choke Egypt, and claimed that it was part of a Zionist plot to set aside and assert control over an additional 3 million acres of land. He added that Egypt was currently suffering from “water poverty”.
Makhyoun added that he did not support Egypt’s Tamarod campaign, saying that President Morsi came to power by way of the ballot box and that he should be removed using the same means. He called on all parties to participate in the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections in order to effect change, advising those seeking to participate in the Tamarod campaign to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages before doing so.
He further labeled the systematic neglect and marginalisation of the Sinai Peninsula a “crime and a stain on Egypt”. He described Sinai’s problems as large and complex, saying that recent unrest seen in the region was a result of a lack of adequate government services being provided. He further made calls to include all of Egypt’s revolutionaries in the country’s political process, regardless of their political affiliation, so as to prevent them from eventually becoming supporters of the old regime.