President Mohamed Morsy said statements he made in 2010 about the Israeli aggression against Palestinians in Gaza were “misquoted,” and stressed his commitment to fully respecting Abrahamic religions and freedom of worship.
Morsy was asked about his statements during a meeting with a US congressional delegation led by Republican Senator John McCain in which they discussed the democratic transformation in Egypt.
A statement from the president’s office said Morsy also briefed the delegation on government efforts to enable all segments of society to build a national consensus on basic principles of democracy, rights and freedoms.
A video obtained by The New York Times showed Morsy as an Islamist political leader in 2010 urging Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists. In a TV interview months later, he described Zionists as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs,” the newspaper said.
The US government strongly condemned the remarks Tuesday, and urged him to repudiate them.
During his meeting with the delegation, Morsy pointed to the need for separation between the Jewish religion and the violent practices against unarmed Palestinians in flagrant attacks on their lives and property.
Morsy also stressed the importance of building a strategic relationship between Egypt and the US based on mutual respect and common interests.
McCain told the president that he looks forward to receiving him in Congress during his upcoming visit to the US.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm