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Liberal forces plan new coalition to stem Islamic tide

A number of liberal and leftist parties announced their plan for a new coalition to counter Islamists after they overtook Friday's "Unity" protests to call for sharia

Ahram Online, Monday 1 Aug 2011
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Sunday night, three days after Islamist forces stunned the country by turning out hundreds of thousands of supporters to call for sharia (Islamic) law to be applied in Egypt, a number of representatives of left and liberal parties held an indoor political rally in Mansoura, a city in the Delta.

Amr Hamzawy, a spokesperson for Egypt Freedom Party, announced that a number of liberal political forces are in the process of forming a new broad coalition in order to counter the growing influence of Islamic and religious movements. Hamzawy told the audience that Egyptians have to choose between building a new civil state or a theocratic state.

Ayman Nour, president of the Ghad (Tomorrow) Party and potential presidential candidate rejects both an extended period of military rule as well as calls for a religious state. Nour praised the Muslim Brotherhood organisation for its moderation and flexible political discourse. On the other hand, Nour added that liberal forces had to listen carefully to what other conservative Salafist forces have to say and figure out ways to engage them in political debate.

Representatives of Free Egyptians, the Democratic Front and the Nasserist Karama party also spoke at the rally.

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