Egypt’s generals ban religious slogans in vote, Muslim Brotherhood mulls its motto

October 9, 2011

(An Egyptian protester holds up a Koran while participating in a rally at Tahrir square in Cairo July 29, 2011/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

Egypt’s ruling military council has amended election rules to ban the use of religious slogans, a move the Muslim Brotherhood said Sunday may prompt it to reconsider using its traditional campaign phrase “Islam is the solution.” The Brotherhood was banned under the ousted President Hosni Mubarak but ran candidates as “independents,” who could be identified on posters by the Islamist group’s well-known slogan.

Many liberal politicians and Egyptians have been worried by the rising influence of the Brotherhood since the uprising. The group has sought to quell concerns by saying it wants a pluralist democracy and did not want to impose Islamic law.

“Electoral campaigns based on the use of religious slogans or on racial or gender segregation are banned,” a military council decree issued late Saturday said, adding violators could face three months in jail and be fined. The election committee earlier said the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party could not use the slogan, prompting some members to insist it should be allowed. But Brotherhood officials took a softer line after the army decree.

“The slogan is a way of life for us but it isn’t necessarily an electoral slogan,” Mohamed el-Beltagy, a senior figure in the Freedom and Justice party, told Reuters after the decree. “We might reconsider using it in the elections in light of the conditions and might replace it,” with other slogans, he said.

Read the full story by Tamim Elyan here.


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