CAIRO: The Salafi Al-Nour Party denied Monday that the founders of a Facebook group claiming its supporters would force their strict interpretation of Islamic laws on citizens were members of the party.
Al-Nour said the unidentified founders of "The Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Committee," who claimed they were members of the Salafi party, work for other competing political powers to tarnish the party’s image ahead of the third round of elections.
The committee announced its presence Sunday through a new Facebook page carrying a statement affirming its similarity to the infamous body of the same name in Saudi Arabia.
The statement pointed out that the founders of the committee, which does not directly fall under Al-Nour, are members of the party.
"The committee doesn’t follow any other party," the statement said pointing out that their motive to set up such committee stems from the vast majority of Egyptians’ choice of Islam and the rule of God’s law away from the "rotten liberalism."
The members, who refused to reveal their identity until they attract more supporters, said they welcome handing over their activities to Al-Nour to run it after they constitute its staff.
"No member can act like that without consulting the administration of the party," said Yousri Hammad, spokesman of Al-Nour.
In the case such committee tries to implement its objectives, he continued, the party will take legal actions against it.
"And if they were members of the party, which I doubt, they will be dismissed immediately," he added. "They don’t want to identify themselves because they are pushed by other parties."
Although Hammad stressed that the party does not adopt such an approach of forcing people to act a certain way and focuses merely on showing people the real Islam, Emad Gad, political expert, believes otherwise.
"The approach of the committee is not far from that of the party," Gad said, explaining that there are strict groups within the party, like those who stated that tourism is forbidden in Islam, who share the same concepts of the commission.
"Those groups believe the call to Islam should come ahead of the political priorities," he added.
As for Hammad’s denial of the party’s relation to the committee, Gad said that there are different voices in the party that oppose each other.
"There is a variation of voices in the party starting from their perception of the relation with Israel to their perception of such a committee," he said. "We will have to wait and see how people will accept it and what will be the party’s stance at that time."
Members of the committee could not be reached by press time.