Younes Makhioun, Head of Nour Party (Photo: Ahram Arabic Gate)
A speech by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on "renewing religious discourse" was not referring to religion or its foundations but to "[religious] thought," Salafist Nour Party leader Younis Makhioun said in a statement on Tuesday.
Talking to religious authorities during a speech at Al-Azhar in early January, El-Sisi blamed “religious thought” for the extremism that Egypt and other countries in the region are facing. He elaborated that there are "religious texts and ideas that have been made sacred throughout the years... they oppose the whole world" and "we need a religious revolution."
El-Sisi on met Monday with political party leaders for the first time since he took office last year. He called on them to unite ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections.
Makhioun's Nour Party is the only Islamist Party that attended the Monday meeting and the only one to support the 3 July roadmap announced by El-Sisi, which included the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
He also warned against any kind of "political exclusion" that could be exercised by the authorities in the upcoming era.
Since the ouster of Morsi last year, the country's authorities have emphasised that Al-Azhar is the advocate for moderate Islam.