Liberals and leftists say Islamists bribed poor people with meat to get votes over Eid

Ahram Online , Wednesday 9 Nov 2011

Islamist food donations exploited the religious festival for electoral gain, say leading liberal candidate for parliament Amr Hamzawy as well as leaders of the leftist Revolution Continues electoral bloc

Al Nour Party in Qena
Salafist Nour Party logo in Qena: On the Path towards light!(Photo: Nour Party)

The Salafist Nour Party's press office in Qena said the party distributed two tonnes of meat in the governorate during the four-day span of the Islamic holiday of Eid El-Adha, and would prepare more free food bags for the poor over the coming days.

The party also announced it had distributed over 1000 free gifts to children in cooperation with their sister missionary associations, Daoa El-Salafiya, in the impoverished Upper Egypt governorate.

The party said it also held a market for five days prior to Eid El-Adha in another poor Upper Egypt governorate, Fayoum, and managed to sell meat and other basic food supplies at reduced prices.

The Nour party was following in the footsteps of other Islamic parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party which also distributed free meat to the poor and free gifts for children during Eid El-Adha.

Both the Brotherhood and Nour also handed out thousands of fliers, posters and Eid greeting cards with information about the parties' political campaign goals and candidates as people left mosques after Eid prayers.

Amr Hamzawy, the liberal parliamentary candidate in the Heliopolis district of Cairo criticised the use of food gifts by Islamist parties in electioneering stating it was clearly against election laws because it exploited a religious celebrations for political gain.

Similarly, Abdel Ghaffer Shuker, a founder of the Socialist Popular Alliance and a top organiser in the leftist Revolution Continues electoral bloc, also told the Rose Al-Youssef daily newspaper on Sunday that the distribution of meat was simply an electoral bribe.

The Islamist parties deny the distribution of food or their use of religious slogans were ploys to influence potential voters, and insist that they have maintained charity work in off-election years.

Meanwhile, liberal and leftist parties are demanding the High Elections Commission enforce election laws, especially Article 50 of the election code, that bans the use of religious slogans and propaganda in elections campaigns.

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