Popular Salafist preacher calls for dismantling Egypt's NSF

Ahram Online, Wednesday 27 Feb 2013

Disqualified Salafist presidential candidate Hazem Abu-Ismail accuses opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) of 'sabotaging Egypt's security, stability'

Founder of Al-Raya party Hazem Salah Abou Ismail (Photo: Reuters)

Hazem Abu-Ismail, prominent Salafist preacher and founder of the as-yet-unlicensed Raya Party, blasted Egypt's National Salvation Front (NSF) opposition umbrella group on Tuesday, describing it as the "National Destruction Front" and calling for its dismantlement.

"Egypt was blessed with the elimination of tyranny," Abu-Ismail declared at a public rally in the Sharqiya governorate, in reference to the 2011 ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

"But today we're at war with conspirators who are manipulating the youth of Egypt," he added.

Abu-Ismail called on the Egyptian public to unite against the NSF and the latter's "attempts to sabotage the security and stability of the country."

The NSF was first formed last November by key opposition figures, including Constitution Party founder Mohamed ElBaradei and Nasserist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, to oppose President Mohamed Morsi's 22 November decree overriding Egypt's judiciary.

At Tuesday's rally, the Salafist preacher asserted that Egyptian state institutions had been increasingly infiltrated by the US.

"Our struggle is against them [the Americans]," he said. "They have succeeded in setting us against one another, which has brought us back to square one."

Abu-Ismail almost ran in last year's presidential elections, but was eventually disqualified from the race by Egypt's Supreme Electoral Commission following charges that his mother held US citizenship. The popular Salafist preacher, however, has continued to deny the allegations.

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