By Abdel Rahman Youssef
ALEXANDRIA: The association of Alexandria religious scholars and preachers said it “fully trusts” disqualified candidate Hazem Abu Ismail, but criticized his calls for escalation in response to being eliminated from the presidential race.
Ahmed El-Mahlawy, head of the association and the sheikh of El-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque, said Abu Ismail is a prominent preacher and that he had urged him to stick to his religious work and steer away from the presidency bid.
El-Mahlawy said he didn’t want an “escalation that disrupts security and endangers the state institutions.”
The Presidential Election Committee eliminated the ultraconservative Salafi candidate from the race after proving his mother held US citizenship in violation of the eligibility requirements. Abu Ismail, who denies the charge, called upon his supporters to protest the decision. They’ve been camped outside the committee’s headquarters since Tuesday and will be protesting on Friday in Tahrir Square.
Justice Farouk Sultan, head of the PEC, said he invited a group of Salafi sheikhs to examine the papers on which it based its decision, the official news agency MENA reported.
The associations’ spokesman Osama Fatooh said they trust Abu Ismail’s intentions and even though they don’t question his words, they can’t come up with a conclusion regarding his mother’s citizenship.
The association said its members will be on the frontlines of Friday’s demonstration, which will feature the participation of different powers protesting for different demands. In a statement, the association explained that it is calling for a swift transition to civilian rule, reminding that the military council of its promises of democracy.
El-Mahlawy said it’s likely that the ruling military council will hand over power at the time it promised, end of June. He, however, said the association would “escalate” if the generals break that promise.