Brotherhood greed halted Egypt's progress: Salafist leader

Ahram Online, Sunday 19 Jan 2014

Muslim Brotherhood focused on building its own power rather than developing the country, says Nour Party's Naddar Bakkar

Nader Bakkar
Nader Bakkar (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The Muslim Brotherhood’s “greed and stubbornness” prevented positive changes in Egypt after the January 25 revolution, Salafist Nour Party spokesperson Naddar Bakkar has claimed.

“Egyptians had a rare opportunity to improve their economic, political and social conditions but the chance was temporarily wasted because we were were divided by battles,” Bakkar told Saudi Arabian newspaper Al-Iqtisadiya on Saturday. “Unfortunately, the Brotherhood's greed and stubbornness was one of the factors that caused this wasted opportunity – they acted like a state within a state.”

Bakkar accused the Brotherhood of refusing to cooperate with anyone outside the group and of wearing a “Salafist cloak” to dominate the “Islamist spectrum” in Egypt.

Nour’s approach has been the biggest challenge to the Brotherhood, Bakkar asserted.

“We spoiled their 80-year claim to be the sole representative of Islam, and that whoever seeks the implementation of Sharia should do it through them.”

Regarding Sinai, Bakkar said militant attacks in the restive peninsula were terrorism not jihad.

After Mohamed Morsi's election, Bakkar said, the Nour Party introduced an initiative to coordinate with the armed forced to implement economic, security and ideological reforms in the peninsula.

However, Morsi halted the initiative after the August 2012 attack that killed 16 soldiers in Rafah near the Israeli border.

“I believe the Brotherhood were trying to benefit from the existing situation [in Sinai] and not fix it, which contradicts with Egypt’s national security,” Bakkar said.

The Sinai Peninsula, already suffering from a security vacuum since the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, has witnessed a sharp spike in militant attacks since Morsi was ousted in July 2013.

The Nour Party, which garnered the second highest number of seats after the Brotherhood in the 2011 parliamentary polls, has come under strong attack from some Islamists for supporting the 3 July roadmap that included the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, amending the 2012 constitution and holding new presidential and parliamentary elections.

Disputes within the Islamist bloc began soon after Morsi's election. Nour refused to take posts in prime minister Hisham Qandil's cabinet and accused the Brotherhood of “failing to honour an earlier deal – details of which were not divulged to the public.”

The rift intensified after Morsi sacked Nour leader Khaled Alameddin from his post as presidential advisor in February 2013.

A Nour Party representative was one of only two Islamists on the 50-member committee that re-drafted Egypt's constitution.

The new constitution was approved by 98.1 percent of voters in a referendum last week.

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