Public records confirm Abu-Ismail's mother was US citizen

Yasmine Wali, Thursday 5 Apr 2012

California public records confirm mother of Salafist presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail became a US citizen before she died, according to The New York Times

Abu Ismail-Large
Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail says his mother is a green card holder (Photo: Abu-Ismail's presidential campaign)

The saga over the nationality of Salafist presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail's mother took a new twist Wednesday when The New York Times claimed California public records prove she became a US citizen before she died.

If confirmed, this would disqualify Abu-Ismail from running for president because electoral rules bar candidates with a parent who holds citizenship in any other country even if both parents are also citizens of Egypt.

A spokesman for Abu-Ismail’s campaign said it had sent a delegation to inspect the documents.

The documents seen by the Times were a "report from a database of public records that included an address in Santa Monica, California, for his mother, Nawal Abel-Aziz Nour, as well as her name on a Los Angeles voter registration list."

Mohamed Fahim Abdel-Ghaffar, Abu-Ismail's campaign spokesman, suggested the document could be a forgery.

Interior Ministry officials, who preferred to remain anonymous, said Wednesday that "they had obtained copies of what they described as American 'travel documents' belonging to Nawal Abdel-Aziz Nour that indicated she had been a United States citizen before her death, but the exact nature of the documents could not be confirmed.

Abu-Ismail filed a lawsuit at the State Council Wednesday against the head of the Supreme Electoral Commission Abdel-Moez Ibrahim and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, to demand a certificate confirming his mother did not hold dual nationality.

He has said his late mother did not hold US citizenship but acquired a green card (permanent resident status) because she visited his US-based sister who holds US nationality.

Abu-Ismail has accused the authorities of propagating this "rumour" in order to taint his image as a presidential candidate and to scupper his election campaign.    

Earlier Thursday, the Salafist Front – formed after the January 25 Revolution to call for the adoption of Islamic law in Egypt – announced that it would protest in Tahrir Square Friday in support of Abu-Ismail.

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

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

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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