Egypt Islamists call for dialogue with revolutionaries in Brussels charter

Ahram Online , Thursday 8 May 2014

A large pro-Morsi grouping of Islamist parties urges 'revolutionary forces' to rally behind a 'charter of principles' and achieve the ideals of the 2011 popular uprising

Former minister of Legal Affairs Mohamed Mahsoub
Former minister of Legal Affairs Mohamed Mahsoub (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi have called for a pluralist climate in Egypt almost a year after the Islamist leader was toppled, urging for a dialogue and requesting the army to disengage from politics.

In a press conference in Brussels, Belgium's capital, Islamist parties of a major pro-Morsi grouping unveiled on Wednesday what they dubbed a "charter of principles" to reclaim the 25 January uprising which helped Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood rise to power.

"We urge free Egyptians to align behind us…so as to overcome this critical phase, support these principles and resume dialogue," Mohamed Mahsoub, who served as minister of legal affairs under Morsi, read out in a statement during the televised conference.

The 10-article document listed a series of demands including: a pluralist administration of the county, the army's return to the barracks and disengagement from politics, transitional and social justice, the safeguarding of general freedoms and rights, the protection of dignity and the uprooting of corruption.

Representatives of the pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a 14-party Islamist coalition, said they were still considering the initiative, adding that some figures in the grouping have "individually" endorsed the document.

Islamists accuse the military, which toppled Morsi last July, of staging a coup that sabotaged democracy. They have refused to acknowledge the interim authorities and have maintained their demonstrations against it. The army, meanwhile, insists it only bowed to the will of people who protested in millions against Morsi's rule.

"The coup will remain null and will never yield democracy," Mahsoub, also a member of the centrist Wasat Party who backed the deposed leader, said in comments published on the Brotherhood's official website, calling on revolutionary forces to "reunite."

Morsi's Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and most organised political group, has been dilapidated in recent months by an unrelenting crackdown that has killed hundreds of its members and sympathisers and thrown thousands more behind bars.

Since its political ascendancy following the 2011 revolt, the 85-year-old group has increasingly alienated many Egyptians. Opponents had accused Morsi -- whom the Brotherhood propelled to the presidency in 2012 -- of monopolising power and mismanaging the country's flagging economy, and blamed the group for links to an Islamist insurgency unleashed after his downfall.

The movement's upper echelons, including Morsi, face an array of trials over various alleged crimes that carry the death penalty. Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, along with hundreds others, has been sentenced to death — a ruling that can still be appealed.

Egypt's interim government has branded the movement a terrorist organisation, accusing it of links with militants who have expanded their activities since Morsi's ouster.

It is not the first time that Pro-Morsi supporters attempt to mend broken bridges with secular revolutionaries who oppose both the interim authorities and the Brotherhood.

Days before the third anniversary of 2011 revolution, Brotherhood sought for "unity… and confronting attempts by the military to sow division and conflict."

The January statement, published on the group's official website, blamed "international and internal plots" that manipulated the "mistakes" of all January revolutionaries for the discord. The statement was considered at the time by secular non-Brotherhood opponents of the interim authorities as a failed attempt for apology and an unresponsive call.

Initiatives by third parties to mediate talks of reconciliation between the Brotherhood and the post 30 June, 2013 government have repeatedly reached a deadlock with the rise of a strong hate wave against the Brotherhood members among many Egyptians, the sweeping crackdown against them by the government as well as their refusal to acknowledge the interim authorities. 

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