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Egypt polls: Once ‘moderate’ Islamists turn ‘hardliners’

Last Updated: Monday, May 21, 2012 - 14:36

Cairo: Two main Islamist candidates, who had earlier presented themselves as ‘moderates’ have now moved to the right and attacked Western decadence threatening Egypt’s alcohol industry.

They have also demanded closer implementation of the Sharia law.

According to The Telegraph, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi, an American-educated professor of engineering and Abdulmoneim Aboul Fotouh, an Independent “liberal Islamist”, are the two Islamist front-runners along with old regime politicians Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister, and Ahmed Shafiq in this tirade against Western influence on the Egyptian society and business.

At a rally in the Nile Delta, a lower-middle class Brotherhood heartland, Fotouh devoted much of his speech to conservative views of the role of women.

“Egyptian women teach the younger generation to kiss the heads of their fathers. They devote themselves to their family,” he said.

He went on to say that the Western countries had “neglected” family life.

“They have opened up society to commit all sins – sex, drink, everything. We are all soldiers in the project of Islam,” he claimed.

Fotouh said he would close down Egypt’s indigenous alcohol industry, which produces wine and beer.

“Yes, I know that eight per cent of the state budget comes from alcohol taxes, but we, as Egyptians, are in need of other industries such as technology and the needs of the army,” he added.

Previously, his moderate stance and strong opposition of Mubarak’s rule had won him the support of many liberals.

Meanwhile, Morsi’s campaign has taken up the slogan, “The Koran is our constitution” and demanded the release of Omar Abdulrahman, the Egyptian so-called “blind Sheikh” who was jailed for life in the US for incitement to terrorism.

Wednesday’s election to replace former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and the interim military government has gripped entire Egypt, with thousands attending rallies across the country.

A recent opinion survey revealed that the shift of stance by Fotouh and Morsi highlighted the paradox, that most Egyptians favour a Turkish-style multiparty democracy and Saudi Arabia’s strict implementation of Sharia law.


First Published: Monday, May 21, 2012 - 14:11

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