Egypt presidential candidate ´will push for sharia´ (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) By Samer al-Atrush 04/04/12)
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The Muslim Brotherhood´s candidate for Egypt´s presidency, Khairat el-
Shater, has pledged to press for the implementation of sharia
(Islamic law) if elected, a Muslim think tank said on Wednesday.
Shater, whose candidacy for the May election sent political shock
waves throughout the post-uprising country, said implementing the
sharia was "his first and final goal," said the Legal Authority for
Rights and Reform after meeting with him on Tuesday.
Shater, who stepped down as the Brotherhood´s deputy leader to run,
said "he would work to form a group of scholars to support parliament
in achieving that goal," according to a statement on the group´s
When asked by AFP, a senior official with Shater´s campaign did not
deny the statement, but clarified that Shater shared his electoral
programme with the Brotherhood´s political arm, the Freedom and
The FJP calls for an "Islamic, constitutional and democratic" state,
but not a "theocracy," which it defines as rule by religious men. The
Muslim Brotherhood advocates an Islamist state achieved through
The official said Shater, who has refused interview requests, would
prioritise "democratic institution building and an economic
renaissance" if elected.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he added that Shater "is
committed to the constitution and Article 2, which all Egyptians
The constitution was suspended by the military after an uprising
overthrew president Hosni Mubarak last year. Article 2 stipulates
that the principles of Islamic law are the main source of legislation.
But there is not universal interpretation of sharia.
Many Coptic Christians, who comprise about 10 percent of Egypt´s 80-
million-strong population, worry about the growing power of Islamists
in the country, but Shater´s campaign official said he would
guarantee them their rights.
Secularists and liberals are also concerned.
Mainstream Islamic scholars say sharia, which stipulates punishments
such as amputation for theft and stoning for adultery, offers
Christians and Jews protection under an Islamic state. But they
believe that only Muslim men can rule.
The candidacy of Shater, jailed under Mubarak and released only after
his overthrow, created a rare public rift within the powerful
Islamist movement which liberal opponents accuse of trying to
The Brotherhood is now trying to persuade other Islamist candidates
to stand down in favour of Shater.
The Islamists have benefited the most among political parties after
the uprising, to the dismay of secular youth groups that spearheaded
The FJP already dominates the senate and parliament, which appointed
a mostly Islamist constituent assembly to prepare a new constitution.
The Coptic Church, the prestigious Sunni Muslim Al-Azhar institution
and liberals have pulled out of the panel because of their meager
Mohammed al-Beltagi, a prominent FJP parliamentarian, warned on
Tuesday that the Brotherhood was overreaching by appointing Shater.
"It harms the Brotherhood and the nation, to have one faction assume
all the responsibility under these conditions," he wrote.
But another lawmaker with the group, which is pressuring the ruling
military to sack the government, said the party would lose support in
future elections if it did not have the executive power to push
through its programme. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse.
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