At Berlin presser, President Morsi plays down anti-Jew rhetoric

Ahram Online, Wednesday 30 Jan 2013

At Wednesday press conference with German counterpart, Egypt's President reiterates that his 2010 comments about Jews and Zionists had been taken 'out of context'

Mohammed Morsi
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi, right, shake hands after a joint press conference at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany (Photo: AP)

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday reiterated that his 2010 comments about Jews had been "taken out of context," stressing that, "as a Muslim, I respect all the divine religions [Judaism, Christianity and Islam]."

"As a Muslim, I respect Jews and Judaism," he said at a joint press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Last month, three-year-old video footage emerged in which Morsi – in his capacity at the time as a leading Muslim Brotherhood member – endorses hatred of Jews and describes Zionists as "pigs" and "bloodsuckers."

Shortly afterward, the Western-led 'international community' voiced its displeasure with Morsi's statements, which were condemned by both Washington and Berlin.

Morsi's office quickly issued a statement rejecting "discrimination and incitement to violence based on religion."

The Obama administration praised Morsi's clarification, but called on the Egyptian president and other Egyptian leaders to "demonstrate their commitment to religious tolerance and Egypt's peace treaty with Israel."

When asked about the anti-Jew comments at the Berlin press conference, Morsi stated: "I'm obliged [by Islamic doctrine] to respect Judaism, but I was speaking about the wrong practices committed by some. My words were edited and taken out of context."

Standing next to Morsi at the conference, Merkel stressed the importance of "religious freedom," saying the Egyptian government must "respect human rights." 

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