We will not leave the streets to the opposition: Salafist figure

Ahram Online, Saturday 16 Mar 2013

Controversial Islamist preacher Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail says his new Umma Alliance will not allow Morsi's opponents to bring about a military coup

Former presidential hopeful Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail

Controversial Salafist figure Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail criticised the political opponents of President Mohamed Morsi at the first press conference of the Umma Alliance, a newly-formed seven-party coalition, on Friday.

Abu-Ismail said that the latter will mobilise on the streets to resist a "conspiracy" aimed at bringing the military back to power.

"In the past few months we've stayed away from the street, hoping that the constitutional path would bring stability, but the past week has shown that conspiracies being plotted through the disastrous court verdict that suspended the elections, as well as police strikes, could provide a reason for the army to redeploy to the streets," Abu-Ismail said at a press conference held in Giza.

"We're not leaving the streets for the opposition anymore; we will force the rats back into their burrows," he said.

Abu-Ismail went on to assert that the coalition will prepare itself to contest the elections, although the new polling dates have not yet been decided after elections were postponed indefinitely following a court order that ruled the new electoral law to be unconstitutional.

Abu-Ismail announced during Friday's conference that the coalition will contest seats on both the electoral lists and the individual list during the upcoming parliamentary polls. He also called on other Islamist parties to "unite" with the coalition in the parliamentary elections.

In addition, Abu-Ismail called on President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, to take stronger measures against the opposition.

"The current policies [of the government] are influenced by outside forces and pressured internally by protests. We should not allow the government to comply with any initiatives that only lead the country to further inflammation," he said.

The Umma (Nation) Alliance is made up primarily of Islamist-oriented parties, and includes Abu-Ismail's Salafist Raya Party, the Reform Party, the Asala Party, the People's Party, the Islamic Party, the Fadila Party and the New Labour Party.

The alliance, the formation of which was officially announced last week, aims to protect the "achievements of the January 25 revolution" and stand against those who interrupt the "constitutional path that allows people to choose their ruler."

News has circulated in Egyptian media recently about the possibility of the army taking over power again amid the ongoing political crisis. 

Around 2,000 people staged a march to Nasr City last week in Cairo, calling on the army to intervene. 

The army has been playing a role in maintaining security in cities like Port Said, where clashes have broken out; however, the army's chief of staff General Sedki Sobhi said last month that the army will avoid politics.

Abu-Ismail, the Salafist preacher-turned-politician, was disqualified by the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) from the presidential race last April on grounds that his mother holds a US citizenship, which was against the regulations for presidency applications.

Parliamentary elections were scheduled for 22 April of this year, before the Administrative Court order prompted the delay of polls.

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