Salafist Front to protest Friday on Abu-Ismail mother nationality crisis

Ahram Online, Thursday 5 Apr 2012

The Salafist Front will take to Tahrir Square Friday in support of presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail and in protest at what they qualify as a fierce political and media campaign against him

Hazem Salah Abu Ismail
Egyptian presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, a prominent Salafist, center, waves to hundreds of his supporters in front of the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (Photo: AP)

The Salafist Front has announced that it will protest in Tahrir Square Friday in support Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, the Salafist presidential contender who may be disqualified from running amid doubts that his mother holds US citizenship. President electoral rules forbid anyone who holds another nationality, or whose parents hold such nationality, from running for Egypt's top post.

The Friday protest will march from Al-Fateh Mosque in Tahrir.

The Salafist Front issued a statement saying that Abu-Ismail is experiencing a fierce counter-attack to his candidature for the presidency, including the fabrication of charges against him in the media with the cooperation of prominent political powers.

The statement said that delaying the declaration of truth about Abu-Ismail's mother nationality leads to suspicion.

The statement also affirmed that regardless of the fierce accusations Abu-Ismail is facing, the Salafist Front supports him and encourages the people to do the same.

Allegations over the nationality of Abu-Ismail's mother, who died in her 60s, surfaced last week before he handed in his mandatory recommendations to the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) and became an official presidential candidate.

Abu-Ismail has said that his late mother did not hold US citizenship. She did, however, acquire a green card (permanent resident status) because she visited his US-based sister who holds US nationality.

With a relatively brief history in electoral politics, a respectable career as a lawyer, a reputable status as a influential Islamic preacher, and known for his sharp political rhetoric, Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail has emerged as one of the frontrunners in Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential contest.

Abu-Ismail is the son of late high-profile Islamist figure Salah Abu-Ismail, who was a prominent Al-Azhar scholar, a long-standing member of parliament, and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail announced his decision to run for the presidency in May 2011.

Presidential elections will take place 23-24 May, with the president named on 21 June after a runoff vote — if necessary — 16-17 June.

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