RECOMMENDED READING: “Islamist Abul-Fotouh sits out Egypt’s election”


A Middle Eastern news portal has published an article on former presidential candidate Abdel-Mon’eim Abul-Fotouh and his decision not to run again for the Egyptian presidency. The article begins:

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh

For former presidential candidate, Abdel-Mon’eim Abul-Fotouh, perhaps not running for president again was not a surprising decision. In an interview with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram last Friday, he said that he wouldn’t engage in ‘political cosmetics,’ a clear indication of how he viewed the current crisis in Egypt. He reaffirmed his opinion on Sunday by saying, ‘I won’t take part in deceiving people into believing we have a democratic path when we don’t.’ Abul-Fotouh’s assessment is an accurate reflection of the current political atmosphere in Egypt, however, his decision is also an indirect admission that he stands no chance of winning the backing of Egyptian Islamists, and non-Islamists beyond his core supporters in Egypt Strong Party. Unlike in 2012, in which some Salafists and the young Muslim Brotherhood backed Abul-Fotouh, this scenario is no longer possible. In fact, even in a free and fair election, the chance of Abul-Fotouh garnering more votes is very slim.

Abul-Fotouh’s dispute with the Muslim Brotherhood started after the January 2011 revolution. In an interview with The Middle East Institute, Abul-Fotouh explained why he left the Muslim Brotherhood saying, ‘I wanted to run as an independent candidate in the presidential elections, and the Muslim Brotherhood made it obligatory for members to join the Freedom and Justice Party. I also opposed the Brotherhood’s mixing of religious and political life.’

He later acknowledged the mistakes committed by the Muslim Brotherhood from the beginning of the revolution through Morsi’s ill-fated presidency, and called for an early presidential election. He has even described the June 30 uprisings as a ‘revolutionary wave that turned into a coup on July 3.’ Nonetheless, despite calling the ousting of Morsi a coup, Abul-Fotouh has refrained from joining the anti-coup sit-ins in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares. He was content with criticizing the military-backed interim government for violently ending the sit-ins, a move that infuriated many Brotherhood supporters. Some even went so far as to call him a traitor.

Read the rest here.

According to a bio in the Egyptian Independent, Dr. Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh is an Egyptian physician who is a syndicate leader in the Arab Doctors Union. He is also a former leader since his student days in the Jama’a al-Islamiya, the Egyptian terrorist group whose spiritual leader was cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman– the so called “Blind Sheikh” now imprisoned in the US for his role in the 1st World Trade Center bombing. When former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat released Muslim Brotherhood leaders from prison in the 1970’s, these same leaders approached Dr. Aboul Fotouh and persuaded him and his peers to join the flagging Brotherhood where he eventually rose to a leadership position. In October 2006, U.S. media reported that Abul-Fotouh was one of two  Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders denied U.S. visas  to speak an a conference at NYU. (See Note below). Dr. Aboul Fotouh was a member of the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau from 1987 until 2009 until he was expelled from the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau in what was said to be a fraudulent poll and in July 2011 was expelled from the Brotherhood entirely in connection with his decision to run for Egyptian President. At that time, Dr. Aboul Fotouh said that he had consulted Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi before deciding to run for the presidency while Qaradawi told a Qatari newspaper “I will vote for Abul-Futuh.”

In May 2012, shortly before the election, UK media reported that Dr. Aboul Fotouh was “moving to the right” in comparison with said to be his earlier “moderate” positions. However, despite this notion that Dr. Aboul Fotouh was a moderate forced to the right by the presidential campaign, analyst Eric Trager has written an analysis on both the extremist positions of  Abol Fotouh as well as the incessant description of him as “moderate” by leading U.S. media. Trager’s article begins:

But American media has had a tough time acknowledging the dispiriting truth that Egypt’s presidential race is now a contest between theocratic Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi and Abol Fotouh on the one hand, and autocratic former Mubarak regime officials such as Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq on the other. Instead, the country’s major newspapers have gone out of their way to designate a hero. The Wall Street Journalthus whitewashed Abol Fotouh as “relatively liberal,” while The New York Times dubbed him a “liberal” outright. Any judicious reading of Abol Fotouh’s record would contradict these characterizations.

Read the rest here.

In addition to Trager’s analysis, Dr. Aboul Fotouh has had an even longer history of extremist statements. Shortly following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, he accused the U.S of plan to “enslave the Arab nation.” In 2006, he continued along the same lines advising support for “a Hezbollah-Iranian agenda than an ”American-Zionist’’ one.” Egyptian journalist and political analyst Fady Salah has published an article titled “Aboul Fotouh: One Man Fits All” which looks at the history of contradictory statements made by  Dr. Aboul Fotouh.

In October 2013, the Middle East Institute published an interview with Dr. Aboul Fotouh.

For an official bio of Dr. Aboul Fotouh go here.

(Note: “NYU IN ISLAM FUROR – NO VISAS FOR SPEAKERS” The New York Post October 20, 2006)

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