U.S. media is reporting that Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate is asserting that full rights for Christians and women will be protected should he be elected. According to An AP report:
CAIRO – The presidential candidate for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday sought to expand his support base ahead of a tight runoff against an ex-regime figure next month, vowing to ensure the full rights of Christians and women if he is elected. Mohammed Morsi also tried to reassure the pro-democracy youth groups who drove the popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s regime 15 months ago, saying he will protect the right to stage peaceful protests and sit-ins. Morsi claimed the top spot in the first round of Egypt’s landmark election last week, putting him in the June 16-17 runoff vote against Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force commander and Mubarak’s last prime minister. Both candidates are highly polarizing figures, and are scrambling to broaden their base by appealing to groups that didn’t support them in the first round. Speaking to reporters Tuesday in Cairo, Morsi said he planned to appoint Christians as presidential advisers and name one as vice president ‘if possible,’ and said he would not impose an Islamic dress code in public for women. ‘Our Christian brothers, they are partners in the nation. They will have full rights that are equal to those enjoyed by Muslims,’ Morsi said. ‘They will be represented as advisers in the presidential institution, and maybe a vice president if possible.’ Women, he said, will have full rights in jobs and education. ‘Women have a right to freely choose the attire that suits them,’ he said. Morsi also vowed to create a broad coalition government, and said the country’s new constitution would be written by a panel that is truly representative of the nation. The Brotherhood and other Islamists who control more than 70 percent of parliament’s seats packed the original constitutional panel with their own supporters in a bid to influence the charter. However, a court ruling disbanded it on the grounds that it did not observe the rules of selection spelled out in a constitutional declaration adopted last year. Morsi and Shafiq qualified for the runoff after they finished as the top vote-getters in the first round of voting on May 23-24. Morsi won close to 5.8 million votes, or almost 25 percent, while Shafiq garnered 5.5 million votes, or nearly 24 percent, according to final official results announced on Monday. Morsi also pledged to lift the decades-old state of emergency, which gives police wide powers of arrest and detention.
The New York time had earlier published a revealing portrait of Dr. Morsi which begins:
April 23, 2012 CAIRO — He has argued for barring women and non-Muslims from Egypt’s presidency on the basis of Islamic law, or Shariah. He has called for a council of Muslim scholars to advise Parliament. He has a track record of inflammatory statements about Israel, including repeatedly calling its citizens ‘killers and vampires.’ Mr. Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s dominant Islamist group, declared last week that his party platform amounted to a distillation of Islam itself. ‘This is the old ‘Islam is the solution’ platform,’ he said, recalling the group’s traditional slogan in his first television interview as a candidate. ‘It has been developed and crystallized so that God could bless society with it.’ At his first rally, he led supporters in a chant: ‘The Koran is our constitution, and Shariah is our guide!’ One month before Egyptians begin voting for their first president after Hosni Mubarak, Mr. Morsi’s record is escalating a campaign battle here over the place of Islam in the new democracies promised by the Arab Spring revolts. Mr. Morsi, who claims to be the only true Islamist in the race, faces his fiercest competition from a more liberal Islamist, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a pioneering leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who was expelled from the group in June for arguing for a more pluralistic approach to both Islam and Egypt. He is campaigning now as the leading champion of liberal values in the race. Both face a third front-runner, the former foreign minister Amr Moussa, who argued this week that Egypt cannot afford an ‘experiment’ in Islamic democracy. The winner could set the course for Egypt’s future, overseeing the drafting of a new constitution, settling the status of its current military rulers, and shaping its relations with the West, Israel and its own Christian minority. But as the Islamists step toward power across the region, the most important debate may be the one occurring within their own ranks over the proper agenda and goals. Mr. Morsi’s conservative record and early campaign statements have sharpened the contrast between competing Islamist visions. The Brotherhood, the 84-year-old religious revival group known here for its preaching and charity as well as for its moderate Islamist politics, took a much softer approach in the official platform it released last year. It dropped the ‘Islam is the solution’ slogan, omitted controversial proposals about a religious council or a Muslim president and promised to respect the Camp David accords with Israel. Its parliamentary leaders distanced themselves from the Salafis, ultraconservative Islamists who won a quarter of the seats in Parliament. The Brotherhood’s original nominee was its leading strategist, Khairat el-Shater, a businessman known for his pragmatism. He had close personal ties to Salafi leaders, but he did not leave much of a paper trail besides an opinion column in a Western newspaper stressing the Brotherhood’s commitment to tolerance and democracy. Mr. Shater was disqualified last week because of a past conviction at a Mubarak-era political trial. In his short-lived campaign he stressed the Brotherhood’s plans for economic development and rarely, if ever, brought up Islamic law. By contrast, Mr. Morsi, 60, is campaigning explicitly both as a more conservative Islamist and as a loyal executor of Mr. Shater’s plans. He campaigns with Mr. Shater under a banner with both their faces, fueling critics’ charges that he would be a mere servant of Mr. Shater and the Brotherhood’s executive board.
Read the rest here.
Earlier posts discussed a recent campaign rally of Dr. Morsi that featured calls for an Islamic Caliphate with its capital in Jerusalem.