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Egypt's Brotherhood leaders meet with influential journalist Heikal

Muslim Brotherhood leaders Amr Darrag and Mohamed Bishr meet with renowned figure Hassanein Heikal

Ahram Online , Wednesday 18 Sep 2013
Heikal and Darag
Egypt's prominent political figure Mohamed Hassanien Heikal and Brotherhood leader Amr Darag

Prominent Egyptian journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal met with two Muslim Brotherhood leaders Amr Darrag and Mohamed Bishr on Tuesday, reported the Freedom and Justice party (FJP) news portal.

Heikal, a confidant of several Egyptian leaders, including former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, maintains influence with decision-makers in the current post-Mohamed Morsi interim administration.  

Darrag, former Minister of Planning and International Cooperation under deposed president Morsi, told the FJP that the meeting, which took place in Heikal’s office, aimed to exchange perspectives on the current situation, adding that no other possibilities for dialogue with official bodies were discussed.

“Heikal emphasised [in the meeting] he was not representing any other party," Darrag said.

"The political analyst said he didn’t discuss the release of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, or convey any offers of ministerial positions in the post-Morsi cabinet, as claimed by some media reports."

Darrag confirmed the stance of the pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) remains unchanged regarding the ouster of the former President, adding that the group will not take part in any resolutions that “are not based on legitimacy,” referring to the group's perspective regarding Morsi's "right" to the presidency and the legitimacy of the currently suspended 2012 constitution.

The meeting was called by Darrag during a phone call with Heikal in which the Islamist leader refuted accusations made earlier by the prominent journalist that loyalists of the Muslim Brotherhood torched his rural residence.

Heikal's residence, which contains critical archival material, was set on fire during nationwide violence that erupted following the ouster of Morsi in early July. Investigations are ongoing concerning the incident. 

Bishr, former Minister of Local Administration and a leading member of the NASL, also affirmed that the alliance will not back down on their demands for the return of constitutional legitimacy, stressing the rejection of what they term a “coup” to oust former president Morsi.

“Despite the friendliness of the meeting, it is no different to any other that has taken place between the alliance and the current administration to explain our point of view,” Bishr added.

Meanwhile, leading member of the Salafist Nour party, Ahmed Abdel-Hameed, received news of the meeting with optimism.

“The meeting between [Heikal] and Bishr and Darag means that the Muslim Brotherhood is starting to exit their state of calcification, in which they have previously regarded any meeting with the coup leaders a betrayal of religion and state... Especially, given that Heikal is considered by supporters of Morsi as the godfather of the coup,” Abdel-Hameed added in a press statement on Tuesday.

In May, two months before the ouster of Morsi, Heikal told privately-owned CBC channel: "The countdown has begun for the exit of the Brotherhood from Egypt's political scene.” He added that the Brotherhood has resorted to the use of force in an attempt to offset decreasing political power.

The Muslim Brotherhood has thus far refused to engage in dialogue with the post-Morsi government, and Morsi-loyalists have been continuously protesting since his ouster to demand reinstatement.

Hundreds of members of the Islamist group are now behind bars, facing charges of incitement to violence.

The Muslim Brotherhood has turned down offers of ministerial posts in what they call "the coup cabinet," headed by liberal Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi.

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