INTERVIEW-Egypt's Brotherhood is no threat to West-Islamist

Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:13pm GMT

* "A new era" is dawning, influential Egyptian cleric says

* Says knows Islamists cannot rule Egypt alone

By William Maclean, Security Correspondent

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Islamist rule in Egypt would pose no threat to the West because it would be more democratic and broad-based than President Hosni Mubarak's "dictatorship", a member of the banned Muslim Brotherhood said on Saturday.

Speaking to Reuters as huge anti-government protests raised uncertainty about Mubarak's political fate, veteran of Egypt's main opposition movement Kamel El-Helbawy said the 1978 peace treaty with Israel might also be safe in Egypt post-Mubarak if Egyptians felt it delivered justice to all parties.

"A new era of freedom and democracy is dawning in the Middle East and Arab world," Helbawy, an influential cleric in the international Islamist ideological movement, said in an interview in London, where he has lived since 1994.

"That's more important than declaring that a 'new Islamist era is dawning', because I know Islamists would not be able to rule Egypt alone. We should and would cooperate -- Muslims, leftists, communists, socialists, secularists."

"Dictators like Mubarak have always told the West, wrongly, there is no difference between Islamists like the Brotherhood and some violent groups who are real fundamentalists."   Continued...

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