Asharq Al-Awsat, Cairo- The Muslim Brotherhood released a statement Friday seeking to calm the fears of political and religious circles in Egypt. The officially banned group made historical gains in the parliamentary elections where it won 88 seats, making it the biggest opposition party in Egypt.
Winning candidates are expected to meet on Saturday to set the agenda for the next parliament, according to Brotherhood MP Hassan Hamdi. MPs intend to confront Interior Minister Habib al Adly on the security violations throughout the polls, with 9 dead and more than 650 injured, he added.
The group owes its success to the effort and dedication of its members said Supreme Guide Mohammad Akef in his statement. He also attacked the hate campaign against his organization and dismissed claims it lacked a political program and was only using provocative religious slogans for political gains. The Brotherhood has been accused of abusing the freedom allowed by the government and of seeking to topple the current political system.
Akef dismissed these claims outright and indicated the Brotherhood had already announced their support of reform and their vision of an Islamic project last year. He denied the group was abusing democracy in order to rise against it.
“We have suffered from dictatorship and oppression. How can such traits have a place in the hearts and minds of Brotherhood candidates?” In fact, he said, the group supported political pluralism and the peaceful transition of power, adding that the public was the source of power.
Akef’s latest statement comes in the wake of an open invitation to Coptic Christian intellectuals to begin dialogue with the group in various governorates. Brotherhood MP Akram Shaer has already initiated such talks in Port Said and dialogue is expected to start in Alexandria next week.
Hassan revealed that the Brotherhood’s political reform program will include a draft law to end to the 24-year state of emergency and the temporary detention of journalists. The group also hoped to halt the use of military courts to try civilians and abolish laws which limit freedom of speech, he said. Constitutional reform would also be on the agenda during the next parliament.