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'Shariah in Egypt is enough for us,' Muslim Brotherhood leader says

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 5/23/2011 12:00:00 AM | İPEK YEZDANİ

Fears that the Muslim Brotherhood might bring an Islamic regime to Egypt are unfounded, one of the leaders of the recently legalized group said Monday.

Fears that the Muslim Brotherhood might bring an Islamic regime to Egypt are unfounded, one of the leaders of the recently legalized group said Monday, explaining that shariah is already in the Egyptian constitution.

“If you go to any court in Egypt, they implement shariah [Islamic law] first. This is more than enough for us,” Dr. Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar, one of the leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview.

If the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, however, it would only support tourism that does not come “at the cost of the beliefs of the Egyptian people,” he said.

“Egyptian people are religious people, whether Muslim or Christian; we cannot let things happen like people hanging around without clothes in a village or gambling in casinos,” Abdel Ghaffar said. “But anyone who would like to come to Egypt in order to visit the pyramids or Alexandria is more than welcome.”

There will be a complete separation between the political branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the organization itself, Abdel Ghaffar said, noting that the Freedom and Justice Party also has Christian deputy candidates and party Vice President Dr. Rafik Habib is a Christian.

“The Freedom and Justice Party will work without any interference from the movement,” he said.

[HH] Egypt will sell gas to Israel ‘if the price is right’

If the political branch of the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power in Egypt, it will sell the country’s natural gas at a much higher price than did the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, Abdel Ghaffar signaled in his comments.

“Egypt is a rich and big country, but Mubarak made it small. We have lots of resources, including natural gas and oil. If we sell the natural gas at the normal international rate we will get an extra $3 billion every year,” he said.

Asked if they would continue to sell natural gas to Israel, he replied: “It depends on the price they will offer. You have to sell it to the one who pays the most.”

Abdel Ghaffar also said the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has had good relations for a long time with people from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, ever since they were members of the former Welfare Party led by the late Necmettin Erbakan.

“Turkey is a good model for us, but with some changes. The community here is different from the Egyptian community. For example you don’t have shariah in your Constitution, and no one can put it there, but in Egypt we have shariah and it will remain in our constitution,” he said.

Asked whether his group would try to engage any European institutions, such as the Council of Europe, he said: “Egypt will try to attend everything that will improve the country’s condition. Some people think if the Islamic people come to power, they will cut the relations of Egypt with the whole world, [but] this is not true at all.”

Abdel Ghaffar was arrested by the Mubarak regime in 2009 and spent one year in prison before being released in 2010. He has been living in London since that time.



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