Salafist leader blames Egypt's NSF for political 'strife, division'

Ahram Online, Friday 12 Jul 2013

Vice chairman of Salafist Watan Party blames Egypt's National Salvation Front – along with perceived anti-Islamist media bias – for country's precarious state of affairs

Deputy head of Watan Party Yousry Hamad (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Yosri Hammad, vice chairman of the Salafist Watan Party, has attacked the National Salvation Front (NSF) – a coalition of primarily liberal and leftist political groups – for which it blamed Egypt's current state of "strife and division."

In a Friday statement, Hammad – whose party supports deposed president Mohamed Morsi's "legitimate right" to complete his presidential term – said: "The [NSF] has made political gains under the protection of the [Egyptian army] and has realised a political scenario whereby it excludes its political rivals with the use of media discourse that promotes hate and violence."

On 3 July, the Egyptian army deposed President Morsi amid mass demonstrations – led by the Rebel campaign and other opposition forces, including the NSF – calling for his ouster.

The next day, Adly Mansour, head of Egypt's High Constitutional Court, was sworn in as interim president. 

Meanwhile, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a Muslim Brotherhood-led group that demands Morsi's reinstatement, has been organising large demonstrations and sit-ins around Cairo. 

"I don't know how this crisis can be resolved," Hammad said. "But we face it now because of those who did not respect the constitution and the law." 

Hammad also condemned recent political violence, saying that "Egyptian blood is a red line." 

"Our political differences should not drag us into killing and attacks on peaceful demonstrators or policemen," he said. 

He went on to voice his "sorrow" for the death of an Egyptian policeman in a militant attack in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Friday.

He also stressed his sorrow for the over 50 pro-Morsi demonstrators killed by military personnel on Monday outside Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo. 

The Muslim Brotherhood is the group that propelled Morsi to power in Egypt's first-ever free presidential election one year ago.

Hammad stressed that pro-Morsi protesters were opposed to any resort to violence. 

On Friday, hundreds of thousands of Morsi supporters converged on Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City district where a mass rally is being held to demand Morsi's reinstatement. 

Meanwhile, in Tahrir Square, several thousands gathered for a communal Ramadan breakfast to voice their support for Morsi's ouster by the military. 

After issuing an interim constitutional declaration and appointing a prime minister, Egypt is now awaiting the appointment of a new government cabinet for the upcoming transitional period.

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