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More Islamist groups withdraw from Anti-Coup Alliance

Salafi Front and Istiqlal Party are latest to pull out of pro-Morsi political coalition

A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and of ousted president Mohamed Morsi holds his poster during a rally in Cairo on November 4, 2013 (AFP FilePhoto)
A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and of ousted president Mohamed Morsi holds his poster during a rally in Cairo on November 4, 2013
(AFP File Photo)

Ultraconservative Islamist political organisation Salafi Front and recently banned Islamist political party Istiqlal have both withdrawn from the pro-Morsi Anti-Coup Alliance (ACA).

The Salafi Front announced last Thursday it will freeze its activities in the alliance and that it plans to work autonomously or in cooperation with other groups that share the front’s main objectives.

“The alliance was the only vanguard of the opposition against the government, and the one that suffered a violent security crackdown while performing its national duty,” said the front.

The front said in the statement published on 4 December that it now wants to work under a political umbrella focusing on restoring “Islamic identity” rather than committing to “unity”.

It added that it refuses “all forms of Western hegemony and Zionist-American plots to support the counter-revolution and the coup”.

The front also said: “We believe that breaking away from the hegemony means breaking away from dictatorship.”

“Our work outside the alliance will allow more space for freedom of revolutionary mobilisation.”

Members of the front previously announced their refusal to cooperate with any secular or liberal entities.

Islamist scholar and Salafi Front affiliate Mohamed Shaker Al-Sharif said that joining forces with seculars “will break the unity”.

Mohamed Galal, a leading member in the front, also said on Saturday that the secular activists are using the youth of the Islamist movement to achieve their goals, and criticised the ACA for calling for “inclusive protests”.

The Anti-Coup Alliance issued a statement last week calling upon “all Egyptians to regroup to demand retribution for the martyrs in Tahrir Square”, emphasising that the square belongs to everyone.

Meanwhile, the Istiqlal Party decided to withdraw from the alliance on 30 November after a court decision ordered the banning of the party and its activities.

The party’s official page published a message by the party’s head Magdy Hussien, who is serving a sentence in prison. Hussien wrote that he supports the withdrawal, adding that they joined the alliance primarily due to the massive support base of the Muslim Brotherhood.

He added that, nevertheless the Brotherhood limited all revolutionary work and mobilisation to “the return of Morsi, and the restoration of their political status”.

Hussien said: “Unlike the Brotherhood, our party is concerned with other issues, like resisting the recognition of the Israeli state, U

Said, and American interests in Egypt.”

He also affirmed that the withdrawal aims to create a third path, separate from the dichotomy between “the coup government and the return of the Brotherhood to power”.

The party has been an important element in the alliance, acting as strong vocal opponent of the current government and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Almost all Islamist parties, with the exception of Al-Nour Party, came under the umbrella of the ACA to support ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Al-Watan and Al-Wasat, two Islamist parties, withdrew from the alliance in August, emphasising their desire to work outside the alliance’s framework to “establish an inclusive alliance”.


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  • Intellectualist

    Excellent reasoning. These conservative religious groups are decidedly “un- Islamist” in their realization that promoting their core Islamic values while expanding their participation across the political spectrum serves their members well. This strengthens them while other overtly theocratic factions are marginalizing themselves. A representative system that allows all groups to work together on common issues while setting aside differences doesn’t threaten core conservative values. The black vs. white,zero sum game isn’t a fruitful methodology. I think when these groups boil down their values they’ll find allies in the most unexpected corners.

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