Egypt's Shafiq: Islamist rival heralds "dark ages"

Sun Jun 3, 2012 4:45pm GMT
 

"I represent a civil state, the Brotherhood represents a sectarian Brotherhood state. I represent moving forward, they represent going backwards," Shafiq said.

Sunday's statement appeared mainly to play on the fears of liberals, Christians (who make up a tenth of Egypt's 82 million people) and women. "Women of Egypt, I will not permit that the powers of extremism take you back to the dark ages," he said.

Shafiq, 70, who delivered his statement in a five-star hotel on Cairo's outskirts where there was a strong police presence, said the Brotherhood were "liars" and wanted to "penetrate" all institutions to create a state in line with their views.

He accused the Brotherhood of making a power grab despite promising not to run for the presidency, after the organisation also won more seats in a parliamentary vote than it originally said it would seek.

He suggested Mursi would answer to a religious leader not the people and would create sectarian divisions.

Shafiq had criticised the Brotherhood on May 26 at a news conference, after initial results showed he was in the run-off. But Sunday's broadside was his fiercest in the campaign so far. It was also timed to coincide with the start of overseas voting.

Mursi, 60, in his news conference on Saturday, had presented himself as the "revolutionary" candidate in the race and said his rival would rebuild Mubarak's old regime.

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