Presidential contender Abu-Ismail given hero's reception at Cairo University
During his speech, Abu-Ismail warned that some presidential candidates are promoting malicious western ideologies; students risked lives to enter hall to listen to the popular Salafist preacher
Sherif Tarek, Wednesday 28 Mar 2012
Several students risked their lives by climbing the external walls of the Aiouty hall, where Abu-Ismail gave his speech, to reach the 15-20 foot high windows, from which some indeed got inside (Photo: Sherif Tarek)
Prominent presidential hopeful Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail was given a hero's reception by several thousand students, as he paid a visit to the Cairo University midway through Tuesday to deliver a speech as part of his electoral campaign.
Several hundred students rallied by the main gate of the Cairo University to form human corridor large enough for cars to pass, with many holding photos of different sizes of Abu-Ismail, on which several slogans hailing him as the coming president were emblazoned.
The campus was also bustling with his supporters, some of whom were wearing unified shirts proclaiming their allegiance.
By the three doors of the Aiouty hall, one of the university's largest where the conference was held, hundreds more were massing while waiting for the arrival of the Islamist candidate. Others were trying to enter the hall but to no avail, as it was already packed.
Abu-Ismail appeared to have entered the campus from a side door in order to avoid the excited crowd and possible stampedes at the main gate. Physically protected by his campaigners, however, the renowned Islamic preacher was escorted by hundreds of students as soon as he materialised.
There were, overall, several thousands of his cohorts outside and inside the hall by the time he arrived. They were enthusiastically chanting "the people want Hazem Abu-Ismail [for the presidency]," among other slogans.
It took Abu-Ismail and his entourage a few minutes to make their way through the crowd and enter the hall that was already crammed. Hundreds of students were occasionally banging on the doors that were frequently opened by organisers for some to come out and others to get in in extreme jostles.
More resolute students even risked their lives by climbing the external walls of the faculty of commerce's hall to reach the 15-20 foot high windows, from which some indeed got inside.
During the speech, Abu-Ismail tackled a few issues.
The 51-year-old warned of the influence of western countries, specifically the US and Israel, saying that through their ideologies they want the new regime in Egypt to resemble the toppled one of deposed president Hosni Mubarak.
He also implied that some of these countries back some presidential candidates, whom he did not name, saying, "for this reason, you should not accept all the shiny talk of the presidential candidates."
He went on, "the students are the hope of this nation; you need to guard your own future and you also need to protect the forthcoming presidential elections [from possible orchestration] because it will decide the fate of the country."
"Whether you vote for me or someone else, you must promise yourself to never again be driven like sheep."
Abu-Ismail is to start a nationwide tour on Wednesday in Mansoura University in the Nile Delta valley.