In an interview last year, Aboul Fotouh apparently betrayed himself as a 9/11 “truther”; he was quoted as claiming about the 9/11 attacks that “It was too big an operation… They [the United States] didn’t bring this crime before the U.S. justice system until now. Why? Because it’s part of a conspiracy.” Needless to say, it doesn’t bode well for Egypt-U.S. relations to be dealing with an Arab conspiracy theorist.
In an al-Jazeera interview, Fotouh called for the Brotherhood to work toward full legalization and transparency, but he claims that 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.” At the same time, he also believes that “none of the Brotherhood’s goals or their practices are illegitimate. In fact, their aims and their methods are very much legitimate.”
Questioned in the interview about what kind of state Egypt would be under his leadership, Fotouh played up his liberal side:
First, Islam does not recognize a theocratic state… A civilian state according to Islamic thought must have a constitution written by the people which defines the roles and responsibilities of all authoritative bodies. You can call this a modern state, a civilian state, a democratic state…
Asked how such an Islamic state would relate to its Christian or atheist citizens, he replied that an Islamic state embraces all its citizens, and said an Egyptian Christian would enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as a Muslim: “There is no difference. Islam does not discriminate based on gender, religion, color, and the new constitution must not either.” On a radio show, one of the hosts identified herself as Christian and asked about the second-class status of her people in Egypt; he responded vaguely, “Nations rise only if there is justice. Otherwise there will be no development.”
About Egypt’s relation with Israel, he replied that his country would maintain its treaty with Israel, “but it will be revised. The articles in it which are in Egypt’s interests will be kept, and those that are detrimental to Egypt’s interests will be taken out.” So much for compromise.
As Egypt’s election date arrives, Western observers are optimistic that Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh’s moderate nature will prevail – just as they once were optimistic about the moderate nature of the Arab Spring.
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