El-Helbawi does not represent Islamists: Nour Party

Ahram Online, Monday 9 Sep 2013

Egypt's Salafist Nour Party says ex-Brotherhood leader Kamal El-Helbawi should not be considered to represent Islamists in the constitutional committee

Sherif Taha
Sherif Taha (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The Nour Party has said that former Muslim Brotherhood leader Kamal El-Helbawi, who is a member of the constitution-drafting committee, does not speak for Islamists.

The Salafist party announced on Monday that it will demand that El-Helbawi not be defined as the representative for the Islamist current in the 50-member body, on the grounds that he was not nominated by an Islamist party.

"The Islamist current has its symbols and parties, apart from its ideological affiliations," Sherif Taha, a spokesman for the Nour Party, told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

"With all due respect to El-Helbawi, he does not represent the Islamist current in any way."

El-Helbawi was officially listed as representing "the Islamist current" when the list of names for the committee was announced.

The Nour Party only decided to join the committee on Sunday, after the opening session. It had earlier expressed criticism that Islamists were not adequately represented in the committee.

El-Helbawi, who defected from the Brotherhood in the late 1990s, has voiced strong criticism of the group's political performance following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

"We welcome El-Helbawi as a public figure inside the committee and we requested that he be described as such, rather than a representative of Islamists," said Yasser Borhami, head of the Salafist Call, the organisation that founded the Nour Party.

The 50-member body, assembled by the interim government last week, was tasked with discussing proposed amendments for the 2012 constitution, which was suspended following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July after mass protests took place against his rule.

Bassam El-Zarqa, a leading figure in the Nour Party, was the other figure listed as representing the Islamist current in the committee.

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