Strong Egypt party and 6 April reject 28 November Islamic protests

Ahram Online, Monday 24 Nov 2014

An Egyptian Salafist group has called for protests against authorities in defense of 'Islamic identity'

Less than a week away from 28 November, the day of "Islamic Identity" protests called for by the ultraconservative Salafist Front, Egypt's centrist Strong Egypt party issued a statement confirming it will not participate in the demonstrations.

Ahmed El-Imam, spokesman of the Strong Egypt party, said in a statement Monday that the "conflict with the current authorities is over the rights and freedoms disputed by the regime. It is not a problem of identity."

The Strong Egypt party was founded by Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh, former Muslim Brotherhood leader and a 2012 presidential candidate.

El-Imam blamed the current situation of "fragmentation and setback" for "fabricated battles" like the so-called identity uprising on Friday.

The 6 April Youth Movement is also due to hold a press conference on Wednesday to explain the reasons behind its "final decision" for not taking part in Friday's protests, it said.

Mohammed Nabil, member of the political bureau of 6 April, told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website that the movement refuses these demonstrations as they will "increase congestion" in the country amid the current status of polarisation.

The Salafist Front has called for "a Muslim youth uprising" this Friday across Egypt in order to "impose Islamic sharia" or Muslim law.

Among their demands, the Salafist Front calls for reinstating Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president ousted in 2013.

Since their call for protests, many arrests have taken place against members of the Salafist Front. On Monday, the Salafist Front announced that five of its leaders were arrested during a meeting in Daqahliya city in the Nile Delta.

The Muslim Brotherhood, designated a terrorist group in December, confirmed they will be taking part in Friday's protests, according to a statement published on their website Sunday.

In contrast, Egyptian Salafist groups the Nour Party and Al-Da'awa Al-Salafiyya movement rejected the calls for protests on Friday.

The Nour Party started a campaign under the slogan "Egypt without violence" in response to the protest calls. Younes Makhioun, president of the party, said in a public conference on Monday that calls for violence are Egypt's most dangerous challenges.

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