FaithWorld

Egypt’s Islamists explore electoral deal with liberals

(Mohamed Mursi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood's newly formed Justice and Freedom Party, gestures during an interview with Reuters in Cairo, May 28, 2011/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is exploring an alliance with 17 liberal and other parties that could lead to electoral cooperation, in an apparent move to allay liberal concerns about the Islamist group’s goals.

The Brotherhood, Egypt’s most organised political force, is widely seen as best prepared for the September parliamentary election as many secular parties struggle to get ready for the first free vote since President Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow.

The Brotherhood, officially banned but semi-tolerated under Mubarak, has said it will contest half of parliament’s seats, seeking to capitalise on the grass roots networks it has nurtured during decades of medical, social and charity work.

Activists who put national pride before faith in the uprising against Mubarak fear the Brotherhood will dominate politics and seek to impose strict Islamic rules on Egypt.

Muslim Brotherhood says it won’t force Islamic law on Egypt

(Mohamed Mursi, head of the Brotherhood's newly formed Justice and Freedom Party gestures during an interview with Reuters in Cairo, May 28, 2011/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

The Muslim Brotherhood wants a diverse parliament after elections in September and is not seeking to impose Islamic law on Egypt, the head of the group’s newly formed political party said in an interview. The Brotherhood, which has emerged as a powerful force after years of repression under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, has said it does not want a parliamentary majority, although rivals see it as well placed for a dominant position.

“We only use Islam as the basis of our party … which means that our general framework is Islamic sharia … We don’t issue religious rules in individual cases,” said Mohamed Mursi, head of the Brotherhood’s newly formed Justice and Freedom Party, which will contest the vote.