Ending military rule through democracy, ‘not chaos,’ says El-Awa

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By Abdel Rahman Youssef

ALEXANDRIA: Bringing an end to military rule will not be achieved merely by chanting against it, presidential hopeful Mohamed Selim El-Awa said Monday at a conference.

His statement was in response to youth who chanted against military rule during the conference in Alexandria on Monday night.

“Whoever wants to confront the military will be faced with something they cannot bear,” he said, adding that how to end military rule is the question that should be asked.

“Ending military rule will happen through elections and democracy, not through chaos. We started by the parliamentary elections, followed by the Shoura Council and here is presidential election,” he said.

If come May 23 there is no election, “I will call [on people] from the highest minaret of a mosque and church to go to Tahrir. We will not leave the country for anyone.”

Registration for candidates in Egypt’s first presidential election since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster began March 10 and will go until April 8. The election is slated for May 23-24.

The Islamist thinker said that people should elect a president from amongst them, and “not the one who knows everything, from the needle to the rocket, because any president will resort to experts in all fields.” He promised to hold monthly meetings with the people if he wins the presidency.

He proposed that the constituent assembly that will draft the constitution be comprised of 20 lawmakers, including 12 from the parliament and eight from the Shoura Council, along with representatives from different sectors of society. The constitution does not belong to a certain party or group and is drafted to continue for 100 and 150 years, he said.

He also stressed that the core of Islam is in the heart and cannot be implemented, but what should be implemented is “the teachings of Sharia which are obligatory to all people.”

It is not a “choice because it is a matter of belief, and whoever rejects implementing Sharia, I urge them to revise their faith.”

El-Awa asserted that Copts “have the obligations and the duties we have as we are partners in this country and my relationship with them is still ongoing and governed by human and national frames,” adding that they have both rights and duties as citizens.

“Legally, Egypt only acknowledges heavenly religions, and we will not allow a legal existence for Bahais. [They] will be referred to in the national ID with a dash since [these are] beliefs not religions, and they have the right of human existence like the rest of the citizens,” he said.

El-Awa completely rejected Shia preaching or establishing “hussaineyat,” referring to Prophet Mohamed’s grandson Al-Hussain who is highly regarded by Shias and Sunnis.
“Egypt is a Sunni [state] and will continue to be,” he said.

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