Mohamed Morsi (Photo: Ahram archive)
Mohamed Morsi, chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), suggested yesterday that the FJP would not be backing Abdel Moneim Aboul-Fotouh’s presidential bid, although he did not mention him by name.
Aboul-Fotouh, one of the frontrunners for Egypt’s presidency, was a leading Brotherhood figure before being expelled from the Islamist group after announcing his intention to run for president in May. This move was in defiance of the Brotherhood’s decision not to field a candidate.
The Brotherhood and FJP seem to have been at loggerheads with Aboul-Fotouh ever since, but despite this many observers expected that they would eventually back his presidential bid. However this notion was put to bed by Morsi, who said on the 90 Minutes TV show: “We are not going to support any of the group’s defectors [sic] who have decided to run for president.”
Morsi reiterated that the FJP will not introduce a presidential candidate, but is rather seeking one to support. Despite this, he left the issue hanging in uncertainty by adding, “If we want to endorse a presidential candidate with an Islamic frame of reference, why wouldn’t we pick a member of the Brotherhood group?”
In the same lengthy interview, Morsi hit back at Coptic business tycoon Naguib Sawiris for the claims he had recently made about the Brotherhood. Sawiris had alleged that the group has been receiving funds from foreign countries, saying that with the FJP, its political arm, it would take Egypt back to the middle ages.
Commenting on his statements, which came in the wake of the FJP’s triumph in the first two rounds of the ongoing parliamentary elections, Morsi argued, “his allegations are untruthful and he does not have any evidence to support what he says. He needs to stop releasing this kind of statements that create a state of disarray in the Egyptian street.”
With regard to funding, Morsi said, “If he has evidence that the Brotherhood receives money from abroad, he needs to show it and also determine the countries he says were sending us money. Hundreds of thousands join the Brotherhood, each one of them pay a percentage of his monthly salary, not to mention donations from the well-off [members].”
In the past few days, two other FJP members have accused Sawiris of inciting sectarian strife.