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Religion cannot be used for political ends: Egypt's Sabbahi
Opposition leader Hamdeen Sabbahi says longstanding Islamist practice of using places of worship for electioneering should be formally outlawed and subject to prosecution
Ahram Online, Sunday 20 Jan 2013
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Sabbahi
Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi (Photo: AP)

Former presidential candidate and founder of the Popular Egyptian Current movement Hamdeen Sabbahi on Saturday called for the prosecution of anyone found using places of worship for electoral campaigning in the run-up to Egypt's parliamentary polls.

During an interview with prominent television anchor Mahmoud Saad on NAhar TV, Sabbahi – whose Popular Current intends to contest upcoming elections under the umbrella of the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) – called on Egypt's poor to stop parliamentary candidates from exploiting their votes to achieve political ends in the name of religion.

Islamist parties have long been accused of using mosques and religious discourse to persuade voters to cast ballots for their candidates.

In advance of Egypt's post-revolution constitutional referendum on 19 March 2011, Islamist figures reportedly warned voters that those who voted against proposed constitutional amendments would 'go to hell.'  

"There are parties who have exploited [the notion of] Islamic Law more than they have served it," Sabbahi asserted.

Sabbahi went on to stress that Egypt's political opposition "holds no grudge" against the forces of political Islam, nor was it opposed – as has been alleged by some – to Islamic Law.

"All protests scheduled for 25 January in Tahrir Square and in squares throughout the country will not be due to feelings of resentment towards the Brotherhood, but rather out of love for Egypt and in support of the rights of the poor and the blood of the martyrs," Sabbahi stated.

On the upcoming polls, Sabbahi stressed that the NSF – of which he is a leading member – would not take part unless 11 conditions intended to guarantee fair and transparent polling were met.

"We want to ensure unbiased monitoring of the elections," he said. "If these demands aren't met we will chose a different path."

Sabbahi also expressed disappointment with the performance of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from which the president hails, accusing them of abusing the trust of the Egyptian people.

"President Morsi is a prisoner of and subordinate to an authority more sovereign than he is – that is, the Muslim Brotherhood's Guidance Bureau," Sabbahi said. He added that Morsi was "not a representative of the revolution and is only serving the Muslim Brotherhood."





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Nora
21-01-2013 04:48am
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When we lose our grace
He has lost in presidential election i.e the people did not select him. When he is going to admits this fact, Egypt will move forward. In a new democracy, no one told the losers to have grace. Being a soar loser, sucks all the pitty or respect I once had for him.
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6



ana
21-01-2013 03:01am
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religion is useful
wake up sabbahi, religion has since the beginning of time been used to control people, who do you think invented the whole game? non other than our ancient ancestors, and we're still being played today.
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ana
21-01-2013 03:01am
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religion is useful
wake up sabbahi, religion has since the beginning of time been used to control people, who do you think invented the whole game? non other than our ancient ancestors, and we're still being played today.
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Aladdin, egypt
20-01-2013 08:11pm
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Divisive
Look around and see how religions have divided SYria, Iraq, Sudan, ... We must united against the evil forces of Khawarej.
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ALADDIN, eGYPT
20-01-2013 07:23pm
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kHAWAREJS
We are witnessing the Great THift of merciful Islam by extremists. We need to stand firm and defend our religion, Allah Law and his profit Sunnah. It is Jihad Elnafs every Muslim should undertake. I beleive in Sheikh Elbana teaching and guiding muslim to true path in their personal life. Allah AKber.
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2



Hanna Adib
20-01-2013 06:47pm
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Secularists should canpaign under a secular rubric-Islamists under Islam
Well the Houses of God can't be neutral between God and the enemies of God. Nasserism is a secular movement that is idifferent to religion. It has no right to invoke God.
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visionsdepaix
20-01-2013 05:09pm
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separation of religion & state
Any religion involved in politics should lose its tax-free non-profit status...i.e. they should be taxed...
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Noua Stubbs
20-01-2013 06:52pm
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Religion has every right to get itself involved in politics.
Then why is politics involve itself in religion?
Salim
20-01-2013 06:49pm
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Egypt is Islamic, It will always remain Islamic.
In Islam there is no sweparation between the Mosque and Politics. Any polituics that is incompatible with Islam is unacceptable and to be rendered invalid.

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