Salafist Call will not join 30 June protests; condemns polarisation

Ahram Online , Tuesday 18 Jun 2013

According to statement released Tuesday, Salafist call will not participate in any protests for or against Morsi; offers advice to Brotherhood

Yasser Borhamy
Yasser Borhamy

The Salafist Call, the largest Salafist movement in Egypt, released a statement Tuesday announcing that its members will not join the 30 June protests against President Mohamed Morsi.

In addition, the movement clarified, its members will not participate in any demonstrations that oppose the 30 June protests, warning that violent rhetoric and mobilisation on both sides will divide the nation.

The ultraconservative Islamist movement elaborated that the majority of the opposition does not oppose the use of Islam as a reference in governance, but rather they are against the president and the government's performance, which has failed to meet the needs of the people.

The Call stressed that it does not condone 'takfeery speech,' that is, speech which condemns opponents as 'infidels,' nor does not approve labeling opponents as 'traitors.' The group further warned that the 30 June protests would be used to stir violence.

The Call stated that it recognised Morsi as an elected president who, according to the constitution, should remain in office for four years save extenuating circumstances "that currently do not apply." Nevertheless, the Islamist movement stressed it opposed some of the policies of Morsi and his government.

“We advise on matters, and we oppose what we do not see as right through national dialogue meetings and the Shura Council [upper house of parliament currently endowed with legislative power],” read the statement.  

The Call also emphasised that the upcoming House of Representatives [lower house] election will bring a new Prime Minister who represents the majority and is endowed with constitutional powers separate from those of the president, creating a new legal avenue for opposition forces.

The Call said that it does not, in principle, oppose holding early presidential elections; however it believes this decision belongs to the president alone in the event that he feels he has lost support. 

On the other hand, the Salafist Call strongly opposed calls to abandon the current constitution or amend it outside of the constitutionally-mandated process.  It also stressed that it will not accept any attempts to change constitutional articles regarding identity, Islamic Sharia or national unity.

The Call also denounced the opposition's demand for a civilian presidential council to replace President Morsi, stressing that it opposed the seizure of power by "mobilising crowds."

Members of the Salafist Call met with members of the Muslim Brotherhood on Monday to discuss expectations regarding the 30 June demonstrations. During the meeting, the Nour Party, which is the political wing of the Salafist Call, proposed that the Brotherhood make concessions in order to ease tensions leading up to the demonstrations.

The Nour Party called on the Brotherhood to take practical steps to quell tensions, including replacing the prosecutor-general (who is considered a Brotherhood loyalist by the opposition), forming a national unity government, and setting a date for the House of Representatives elections.

At a meeting on Monday, the Nour Party, which has recently been critical of the Brotherhood's management of state affairs, had assured the Brotherhood it would not take part in the planned protests.

The anticipated 30 June protests were first announced by the Rebel campaign, which was launched in May to collect 15 million signatures calling for Morsi's removal and early presidential elections. 

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