El-Erian backs down on criticism, flirts with Egypt's leftists

Ahram Online , Thursday 23 Aug 2012

After accusing the Arab left Wednesday of receiving foreign funding, Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam El-Erian salutes leftist figures as partners in building an independent democracy

Essam el-Erian
File photo: Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood senior Essam el-Erian (Photo: AP)

After 24 hours of what was considered by Egyptian leftists as a attack on them, Muslim Brotherhood leading member and acting  chairman of the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, Essam El-Erian, backed down on critical comments about the political left in Egypt.

"With the fall of the eastern bloc, the new left got rid of foreign dominance and international funding. What is left is the need to respect religion, use a language that people can understand, and rapprochement between them," El-Erian said on his Twitter account Thursday.

El-Erian added that in Egypt four different political trends will survive and will have to work together to build a independent democracy that respects the people and accepts the results of elections. Though El-Erian did not say what these four political trends are, it was understood that he meant political Islamism, nationalism, liberalism and socialism.

El-Erian had used his official Twitter account Wednesday to criticise the Arab left, provoking the ire of leftist activists. El-Erian accused the Arab left of receiving international funding, being anti-religion and looking down on the people, claiming that these were the reasons for its failure in the region.

"It's hard to impose a foreign experience on strong cultures such as Islam," said El-Erian, calling on liberals to study the reasons behind the failure of communists and leftists in the Arab world.

While this is not the first attack on the left from the Muslim Brotherhood, it was enough to provoke some leftists, especially those who supported the Brotherhood during the repression of the Mubarak-era.

"No consolation for the (old) left lead by Refaat El-Sayed (the leader of El-Tagammu, the oldest formal leftist party)," added El-Erian. "The hope now is in a new left to lead by Abdel Ghafar Shukr from the older generation, Kamal Khalil from the middle generation, and Wael Khalil from the young generation."

The three leading leftist figures, Shukr, the leader of the Socialist Popular Alliance, Kamal Khalil, prominent revolutionary socialist figure, and independent socialist activist and blogger Wael Khalil were  among leftist political figures who bitterly criticised El-Erian on Wednesday. "I respect and salute them and their colleagues," said El-Erian on Twitter Thursday.

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