Muslim Brotherhood says tourists can drink

Daily Star Egypt Staff
2 Min Read

CAIRO: The leader of Egypt s Muslim Brotherhood said in an interview that tourists could drink alcohol inside their hotels and people should decide for themselves whether to accept bank interest. Supreme Guide Mohamed Mahdi Akef was speaking in a television interview broadcast on Sunday on Egypt s Dream satellite channel. A transcript appeared in the independent newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm on Monday. Akef told Reuters that his comments were in keeping with Islam and did not reflect a new position by the Islamist opposition group. A Quranic text bans the consumption of alcohol and a majority of Islamic jurists have prohibited bank interest. Asked in the interview about the Brotherhood s policy on tourism, one of Egypt s main sources of foreign currency, Akef said the Brotherhood supported tourism. Whoever drinks alcohol, let him drink in his hotel. We don t control people in their homes. He said the issue of bank interest was up to Islamic jurists, but added: I want to tell people to do what they feel is right in their hearts, because jurists have differed (in their rulings on bank interest). Akef s comments were among the most specific in recent times by the Brotherhood leadership on matters which could affect the Egyptian economy if the movement ever came to power. The government does not recognize the Brotherhood but members stand for election to parliament as independents. They and have 88 seats in the 454-seat parliament, making them the largest opposition group. The Brotherhood s parliamentary gains have brought them under increased scrutiny, particularly on their economic agenda, on which the group s leadership generally avoids elaborating. Reuters

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