Salafist leader Hazem Salah Abou-Ismail said on Sunday the contact United States Senator John Kerry has made with the Muslim Brotherhood on Saturday underlines the Islamists strength.
Kerry, head of the US Senate foreign relations committee, visited the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) on Saturday, a few hours after meeting Egypt’s de facto ruler Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.
“The American administration’s contact with Islamists is a sign of victory for us,” Abou-Ismail, who intends to run in the upcoming presidential elections in June 2012, told reporters.
“It also shows that the Americans know well the desires of the Egyptian people.”
The FJP, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood - which was banned from entering politics by the regime of former Egypt president Hosni Mubarak - claimed an overwhelming victory in the first phase of the parliamentary elections.
Salafist Al-Nour party, which espouses an ultra-conservative brand of Islam, came second in the voting. The final outcome of the election will not be known until the rest of the country votes in two more stages, a process that will last until 11 January.
Kerry said earlier on Saturday that the election results should be accepted by Egyptian people.
“Washington will deal with any government that is chosen and elected by its people, but it’s natural that we do not agree on everything. Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance which respects all people,” he added.