Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – With the election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi to the Egyptian presidency, a leading figure in Egypt’s Salafi movement, Sheikh Abdal-Munim al-Shahhat, has called for reassuring Egypt’s Christian community and carrying out national reconciliation. Al-Shahhat stressed to Asharq al-Awsat that all Egyptians should have a role in the new state even those who voted for Lieutenant General Ahmad Shafiq, the loser candidate affiliated with the former regime.
Al-Shahhat believes that the reports of Egypt’s Christians wanting to emigrate from the country following Mursi’s victory is mere propaganda by individuals who are not affiliated with the utmost majority of Christians and that “the ball is now in Dr Mursi’s court.”
A number of Christians have expressed their desire to migrate from Egypt if Mursi wins due to their fear of Islamic rule. However, Al-Shahhat told Asharq Al-Awsat, “I am confident that the Christian religious and political leaders will deal with Dr Mursi, and we want the presidential elections to be a chance in which the Christians realize that the tyrants do not protect them but rather exploited them,” pointing out the incident of the Saints Church in Alexandria early in January 2011 and the incident of Naja Hammadi Patriarchate in Qina Governorate (southern Egypt) in January 2010 as the best evidence on this, in a hint that these incidents have taken place while the former regime was in power.
Regarding what the Salafi movement expects from the new president, Al-Shahhat told Asharq Al-Awsat, “We have hopes, most of which are in the public interest and not in the interest of the Islamic or the Salafi trend. The first that we hope is that Dr Mursi would achieve the national reconciliation and reassure all people that every citizen has a role in the new state, even those who voted for Lieutenant General Shafiq.”
“We have conveyed these demands to Dr Mursi in private meetings, and I spoke about it in Tahrir Square that not all those who voted for Shafiq are followers of the former regime, but some people have contributed to terrorizing others, and we have done so and thousands have contributed to this, and we should admit our mistake.” Al-Shahhat added.
On his vision of the next stage in the history of Egypt, the official spokesman for Egypt’s Salafi movement said, “The ball is now in Dr Mursi’s court and the Freedom and Justice Party, and we think that Almighty God will assist them to achieve national reconciliation that leads us to stability. Undoubtedly, this will take some time, but if we are speaking about the run-off elections, the other candidate, regardless of the fact that he lost the elections [changes thought] and we thank God because Lieutenant General Shafiq’s victory would have meant that the revolution would have to start from scratch again.”