One of the leading candidates in Egypt’s presidential elections shares his views on religion and foreign policy.
In less than a month Egyptians will head to the polls to elect a new president – another monumental step in the Egyptian revolution.
After months of uncertainty the final list of candidates has now been announced, but who will win?
Not only the Egyptian people, but the entire Middle East and the world beyond is taking stock and closely evaluating the candidates in the race.
What are their priorities domestically? How do they view the role of religion? And what will happen to Egypt’s relationship with the US and Israel?
Today on Talk to Al Jazeera we put those questions to one of the leading candidates. Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh is a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but he is now running as an independent candidate for president. The 61-year-old doctor has attracted the support of many Muslim Brotherhood youth who have grown weary of the group’s structure and hostility to liberalisation and change.
Aboul Fotouh says he disagrees with the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood because he is “against the Muslim Brotherhood’s participation in party politics. The Brotherhood should not become a political party nor should it have a political party. Because its founder, Hassan al-Banna, founded the Muslim Brotherhood as an Islamic social welfare movement which raises awareness of Islam without competing for government…. It is wrong to mix this missionary and awareness-raising work with party politics….”
Aboul Fotouh talks to Al Jazeera about his expectations for the upcoming elections, the country’s revolution, and Egypt’s relationship with Israel and the US. Who are Egypt’s natural allies? And how will a new government impact relations with Israel? Aboul Fotouh says that the peace treaty with Israel would continue, “but it will be revised. The articles in it which are in Egypt’s interests will be kept, those which are detrimental to Egypt’s interests will be taken out.”
He says his vision for Egypt is a civic state on an Islamic basis, but what does this mean and how will it impact minorities in Egypt, for example the Christians or atheists?
“A civilian state according to Islamic thought must have a constitution written by the people which defines the roles and responsibilites of all authoritative bodies. You can call this a modern state, a civilian state, a democratic state…. Islam does not discriminate based on gender, religion, colour and the new constition must not either. The appointment of people to office or other government jobs must be based on merit and capability and not gender or religion or even political inclination.”