Brotherhood says won't force Islamic law on Egypt

Mon May 30, 2011 6:30am GMT
 

By Yasmine Saleh

CAIRO (Reuters) - The Muslim Brotherhood wants a diverse parliament after elections in September and is not seeking to impose Islamic law on Egypt, the head of the group's newly formed political party said in an interview.

The Brotherhood, which has emerged as a powerful force after years of repression under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, has said it does not want a parliamentary majority, although rivals see it as well placed for a dominant position.

With secular politicians struggling to mount a challenge, Western investors are concerned about what a shift to an Islamic-leaning government would mean for Egypt, which relies on receipts from Western and other tourists and where tension between Muslims and the Christian minority have flared.

"We only use Islam as the basis of our party ... which means that our general framework is Islamic sharia ... We don't issue religious rules in individual cases," said Mohamed Mursi, head of the Brotherhood's newly formed Justice and Freedom Party, which will contest the vote.

Liberal Egyptians in particular worry that the group could use for its own ends the second article of Egypt's constitution, which makes sharia, Islamic law, a main source of legislation.

Egypt's military rulers suspended the old constitution and introduced an interim one, but that article was unchanged.

Mursi, speaking in the group's new five-storey headquarters in Mokattem on the outskirts of Cairo, dismissed such worries.

"We want to engage in a dialogue not a monologue," he said. "The Brotherhood does not seek to control the parliament ... We want a strong parliament ... with different political forces."   Continued...

<p>Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie (R) casts his vote during a national referendum at a school in Cairo March 19, 2011. Egyptians flocked to the polls on Saturday in a histo REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh</p>
 
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