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Egypt activists hail Morsi's swipe at Assad at NAM summit

Hundreds of supporters – impressed with Morsi's rousing speech in Tehran – turn out to receive the Egyptian president upon his triumphant return to Cairo

Zeinab El Gundy, Thursday 30 Aug 2012
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The Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party have called on Egyptians to receive President Mohamed Morsi at Cairo International Airport to show their support following his speech at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit earlier on Thursday in Tehran.

The Salafist Nour Party also called on its members and supporters to receive the president at the airport to show their support after his speech. On Twitter, Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakar urged followers to gather at the Fatmah El-Shorbagi Mosque in New Cairo – where Morsi often prays – to show their support for the president.

"The Egyptian president's reception should at least be as big as the reception received by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he returned from the Davos Economic Forum," Bakar said in reference to Erdogan's famous appearance at the 2009 World Economic Forum in which he walked off the stage to protest comments made by Israel's Shimon Peres.

According to news reports, the party has issued instructions to its young cadres to head to the Fatmah El-Shorbagy Mosque at 8pm.

Prominent activist Asmaa Mahfouz has also called people to receive the president at the airport.

"It is a nice idea to receive our president at the airport and chant for the free Syrian people, as well to remind the president of the people of Bahrain," Mahfouz declared via Twitter.

Her call, however, was criticised by many activists who believe that such a reception would represent a return to the old days, when the ruler was glorified and flattered. "We should stop making pharaohs and join the modern world," said one detractor.

Roughly 300 people – mostly Islamists – turned out to receive Morsi at the airport, with many chanting, "Raise your head up high – you are Morsi!"

The calls to receive the president drew criticism online and off, even though most Egyptians welcomed Morsi's speech in Tehran, which many interpreted as a statement of intent to re-establish the country as a regional power.

"I admired Morsi's speech at the summit because it represents political action against Iran, but… many countries have said this before us," prominent journalist Wael Abdel-Fattah said via Twitter.

Former MP and political science professor Amr Hamzawy likewise lauded Morsi's speech via Twitter.

"We should praise the president for mentioning Syria in Tehran; true, effective solidarity with the Syrian revolution is a duty for Egypt and we should press those supporting Assad's dictatorship," said Hamzawy, who went on to blast Iran, too, as a "dictatorship that suppresses freedoms."

Ahmed Khairy, spokesman for the liberal Free Egyptians Party, for his part, declared via Twitter: "The president's speech was very good, but we need to know who wrote it because the writer deserves praise. If the president wrote it himself, that would be great."

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