Cairo: The Salafist Nour Party has expressed its support for former Minister of Defense Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi during the coming presidential elections, stirring controversy among politicians and experts who believe such a position contradicts the party’s identity.
Nageh Ibrahim, a former leading member of Gamaa Islamiyya, said the Nour Party always supports the ruling authority regardless of the criticism they may face. He added that they expressed their support for Sisi out of fear of security restrictions.
“Nour Party would support the Muslim Brotherhood if they took power again,” he said. “They support the ruling authority to protect their personal interests and to ensure a notable role in Egypt’s political life.”
The Nour Party supported the stances of the Muslim Brotherhood during the rule of former President Mohamed Morsi, including the controversial Constitutional Decree issued on Nov. 22, 2012. However, it also announced its support for Sisi’s July 3 roadmap after the ousting of the former regime.
Nour Party Assistant Chairman Nader Bakar said that Sisi met the standards drafted by the Nour party to choose its candidate during coming presidential elections. He added in an interview with Al-Hayat satellite channel on Saturday, “The party views Sisi as an Islamic candidate.”
Bakar signaled in a previous interview with Orbit satellite channel in April that a research paper submitted by Sisi during his studies at the U.S. Army War College in 2006, proved Sisi uses Islamic and Egyptian ideas, but does not affiliate with any Islamist movements. He said that such a mentality works with the approach of the Salafist party.
In the paper entitled “Democracy in the Middle East,” Sisi wrote that religion performed a major role in forming democratic values in the U.S. due to the influence of the church. He added, “In the Middle East, the approach is really not different with the exception that the Muslim faith is the basis upon which the Middle Eastern form of democracy will be built.” In the paper, Sisi also praised the Islamic Caliphate, describing it as the model form of government.
Former chairperson of Tagammu Party Refaat Al-Said said that the Salafist Party turned to promote Sisi as Islamist candidate to resume their approach based on using the religion to achieve their personal gains.
“The Nour Party participated in drafting the 2012 constitution that came to undermine the freedoms and rights of Egyptian citizens,” he told The Cairo Post. He added that their current position from the coming elections resumes their approach based on “political hypocrisy.”