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Salafist preacher Abu-Ismail blasts Egypt's defence minister for intervention comments

Salafist figure Hazem Abu-Ismail condemns statements by Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who recently hinted at armed forces' readiness to intervene in Egypt's charged political scene

Ahram Online , Monday 24 Jun 2013
Hazem Salah Abu Ismail (R), a Salafist leader
Hazem Salah Abu Ismail (R), a Salafist leader (Photo: Reuters)
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''The entire responsibility [for the country] still lies in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood,'' ultra-conservative Salafist figure Hazem Abu-Ismail said on Monday regarding recent statements by Egyptian Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

"The armed forces have avoided politics during the past period, yet the military's national and moral responsibility for the [Egyptian] people obliges them to intervene to stop Egypt from slipping into a dark tunnel of fighting and violence, sectarianism or the collapse of state institutions," El-Sisi declared on Sunday.

In a statement on Facebook, Abu-Ismail described the minister's comments as a "blatant effort to abort all the Egyptian people's achievements in the last two years.''

Although El-Sisi, who was appointed by President Mohamed Morsi last year, has vowed that the army would remain "at equal distance" from both of Egypt's two political camps (Islamist supporters of President Morsi and his opponents), the defence minister also recently stated that "the army's bond with the people is eternal."

One week before planned mass demonstrations on 30 June against Morsi's presidency, El-Sisi declared: "Those who think they can break this bond are mistaken. The armed forces will not stand silent any longer against repeated insults to Egypt's military institution and its symbols."

El-Sisi did not elaborate as to who exactly he was referring.

Abu-Ismail responded to the minister's assertions by saying that El-Sisi "should be stopped before it gets out of hand."

The prominent Salafist preacher – who was disqualified from last year's presidential polls on a legal technicality – went on to stress what he described as the "perfect harmony" between Egypt's police, army and political opposition. He added that such harmony "calls for unprecedented action."

 The 'Rebel' campaign, which is supported by Egypt's opposition National Salvation Front umbrella group, has been calling for mass protests on 30 June to demand Morsi's ouster and snap presidential elections, arguing that Morsi has failed to solve Egypt's problems after one year in power.

Abu-Ismail recently condemned the 'Rebel' campaign, saying that it had "no legal or constitutional basis."

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