Parliament rejects El-Eleimy's explanation for harsh words on SCAF, Salafist leader

Ahram Online, Tuesday 21 Feb 2012

Leftist MP Ziad El-Eleimy will be investigated by parliament for statements against the military council and a prominent Salafist leader after Assembly rejected his 'apology'; army might also prosecute him

Ziad El-Eleimy
Ziad El-Eleimy

Member of Parliament Ziad El-Eleimy, a founding member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, will be investigated by parliament after a majority in the People's Assembly voted to reject his explanation of comments he made on Saturday that MPs considered as insults against Field Marshal Tantawi and Islamist Salafist figure, Mohamed Hassan.

El-Eleimy's explanation to the Parliament was met with faint applause, which propelled the Speaker Mohamed El-Katatni of the Freedom and Justice Party to bring the matter to vote. The majority of MPs rejected El-Eleimy's explanation as insufficient.

El-Eleimy's statements about the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) caused a row among MPs after he referenced a famous Egyptian proverb in which Tantawi was allegedly characterised as a donkey, which is considered an insult in Egypt.

Further stirring controversy, El-Eleimy, while criticising Mohamed Hassan's proposal to replace annual US financial assistance to Egypt with donations from wealthy Egyptians, allegedly went on to refer to the influential Salafist preacher as a "vegetable seller," asserting also that "not everyone with a beard should be regarded as a sheikh."

El-Eleimy defended his statements about the military council, stressing that by the proverb he meant to imply that the SCAF should be held accountable for what he described as mismanagement of Egypt's post-revolution political scene and also for mishandling the deadly attack on football fans in a Port Said stadium on 1 February.

Moreover, El-Eleimy told parliament that he visited the Salafist preacher in person and that Hassan accepted his comments as legitimate political disagreement.

Meanwhile, military prosecutors say that they intend to process a number of complaints that they have received against El-Eleimy for 'defaming the armed forces'.

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