RECOMMENDED READING: “Asharq Al-Awsat Talks To Muslim Brotherhood Presidential Hopeful Khairat El-Shater”


The London-based Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat has published an interview with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Khairat Al-Shater. The interview begins:

13/04/2012 By Abdul Sattar Hatita and Ahmed Imbabi

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Khairat El-Shater is one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s top strategists and a chief financier who has now taken up the mantle as the Freedom and Justice party’s presidential candidate. Educated as an engineer, El-Shater is a multi-millionaire, reportedly owning a network of businesses in Egypt, including investment companies, manufacturers and a furniture chain. He spent 12 of the past 20 years in prison under former president Mubarak’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. He was released from prison following the 25 January Revolution, being granted a full pardon by the ruling military. El-Shater is touting his “Renaissance Project”, aimed at modernizing corrupt and incompetent institutions, including education, agriculture, transportation and health care. In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, El-Shater discussed his presidential nomination, the current situation in Egypt and his hopes for the future of the country. The interview is as follows:

[Asharq Al-Awsat] You have announced your candidacy for the Egyptian presidency. Why do you think the Egyptian electorate should vote for you?

[El-Shater] Firstly, I did not nominate myself; rather the Freedom and Justice party and the Muslim Brotherhood have taken the decision to nominate me for the presidency. This is very different than any other figure thinking of standing for the presidency [as an independent], because as the candidate of the [Freedom and Justice] party, I have embraced the management of the programs and views that the party has put forward to create a new renaissance for modern Egypt. The [Freedom and Justice] party and the [Muslim Brotherhood] organization are behind me, as well as all the political forces that have adopted the [renaissance]project…therefore this is something that distinguishes me from any other candidate at the presidential elections.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] You mean to say that voters will be voting for the Muslim Brotherhood as much as for you personally?

[El-Shater] It is not about electing the Muslim Brotherhood or Khairat El-Shater, rather electing the Renaissance project…to build a modern Egypt, politically, economically, socially, culturally and indeed in all other areas of life. We are talking about two points…firstly, there is the [renaissance]project, and secondly there is the conviction that this candidate – and the party behind him – can truly implement this project.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] The constitutional requirements call on the President of Egypt to avoid political or partisan affiliation. In this case, isn’t it true that the electorate should be more concerned about the presidential candidates themselves, rather than the parties supporting them?

[El-Shater] Our program is based on transforming the presidency into a general framework institution; this will harmonize the operations between the government, parliament and the presidency…and which in the end will form a political regime whose ultimate goal is to develop Egypt.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] Have you revealed this project, and your intentions, to the concerned parties in Egypt?

[El-Shater] Yes…we have a social renaissance project and we have spoken about this on a number of occasions with various political forces in Egypt. This [project]is something that we put forward every now and then, and we are putting this forward now, and are opening the door to amending and developing this [project]. Following the presidential elections, we will continue in this regard, until this [project]represents the vision of the entire Egyptian people, not the vision of a single party or organization. This is because this [project]will be implemented by the people themselves, not by any single party…therefore we must promote this idea and convince the greatest number of citizens of this, and this can only be achieved by receiving feedback and developing this vision as best we can.

Read the rest here.

Although the introduction to the interview describes Mr. Al-Shater’s “Renaissance Project”, otherwise known as the Nahda Project, as “aimed at modernizing corrupt and incompetent institutions, including education, agriculture, transportation and health care”, a lecture given by Al-Shater in April 2011 reveals its true aim to be the full “Islamization” of Egypt as part of a step towards the eventual realization of the Islamic Caliphate.

For a piece on Al-Shater’s finances, go here.

For a profile of Al-Shater, go here.

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