Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

7 February 2013

Egypt: Fundamentalist Aboud Al-Zomor Condemns Calls to Kill Opposition

Senior member of the hardline Islamist movement, al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, Aboud al-Zomor, has condemned calls to assassinate opposition figures.

A Muslim cleric had called for the death of prominent members of Egypt's main opposition coalition sparking fury across the already unstable country.

Zomor told Aswat Masriya on Wednesday that resorting to violence in dealing with political rivals is unacceptable and only shows weakness in position.

Released only after Hosni Mubarak's ouster, the fundamentalist was jailed for 30 years for his involvement in plotting the assassination of Egypt's former President Anwar al-Sadat in 1980.

Zomor insisted that with the 2011 uprising making it possible for all factions to engage in political activity, all interactions must be done through peaceful means. He called on opposition forces to express themselves peacefully, condemning blocking roads and burning down public buildings, saying, "we bear the expenses of the losses."

The fundamentalist denied that he ever threatened to use violence against the peaceful protesters gathered in front of the presidential palace, arguing however sometimes the protests include bandits who attack protesters and public properties.

He added that the way to reach President Mohamed Mursi must be through elections if one does not wish to be arrested and referred to prosecution.

While opposition forces widely blame Mursi for the recent violence, Zomor defended him, stressing that the Islamist president should only be held responsible if he let the violence unfold without acting to stop it or if he tried to cover it up. He continued saying that Mursi assumed power amid grave challenges inherited from the former regime.

Zomor said he was saddened at Friday's stripping, dragging and beating of a protester, arguing however that it was an individual act and not the state's responsibility. "If the Interior Ministry (police) was not restrained, there would have been a lot more blood," he explained, adding that policemen who still mistreat citizens, like was common under Mubarak, should be questioned and isolated.

He blamed the slow path of reforming the police apparatus on the "deep state", explaining that it cannot be reformed but only dissolved completely and replaced.

On recent deaths, Zomor said that if the Muslim Brotherhood is truly responsible for recent deaths like of "tortured-to-death" Mohamed al-Gendy and political activist Amr Saad, then it deserves the criticism it has received.

He did not hold Mursi responsible for the deaths however, arguing that such conduct would bring about his own overthrow, calling on him to free himself completely from the Islamist group that propelled him to power.

"We were hopeful that after the revolution, our social conditions would improve. We however became so occupied with countless issues as plotted by the former regime... in order for them to re-assume power."

He asked the current regime to pay special attention to the improvised majority, explaining that while the former regime used its influence to pile up wealth, the Brotherhood made its wealth while restrained.

The Islamist said that the movement's political party will run the upcoming parliamentary elections alone, announcing a complete rejection to joining the National Salvation Front (NFF), Egypt's main opposition coalition.

"I do not consider the NSF a revolutionary force, I consider it a destructive force. I believe it is directly responsible for recent violence because its protests included bandits."

Even though Zomor supports strengthening relations with Iran, he believes Egypt should be more strict about declaring a stance against Shiaa influence.

He condemned the Syrian regime for oppressing its people.

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