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Essam al-Erian, acting head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and member of the president's advisory body, said on Friday that the Brotherhood does not interfere in President Mohamed Morsy’s affairs, especially as the president consults with a wide range of advisers before taking decisions.
Protesters objecting to Muslim Brotherhood domination of state institutions took to the streets in August and demanded that the group be dissolved, claiming that it controlled the president’s decisions.
Morsy was the FJP candidate in the presidential election and is the former head of the party. The Muslim Brotherhood’s founding of the FJP was controversial as some observers said the group was attempting to reproduce itself through the party after being deprived of legal political activities under the rule of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
Some liberals and secularists fear that the party and the group are replicating the policies of the now-dissolved National Democratic Party, meaning that they wish to control all state institutions and exclude their opponents.
Erian said in an interview with the Saudi-based Al-Arabiya news channel that will be broadcast in full later on Friday, that there is a dividing line between the Muslim Brotherhood and the FJP. He added, however, that there is some coordination between the party and the group about some crucial decisions, such as Morsy’s nomination for president and the formation of the Cabinet.
He explained that the difference between the party and the group is that the party practices politics and competes for power, and its doors are open for anyone who wants to join, while the Brotherhood is an Islamic group that in general cares for all areas of life and does not compete for power.
In response to a question about the Muslim Brotherhood announcing the source of its funding, Erian said the source is contributions and member donations, a matter in which no one outside the group is involved.
When asked about the potential trial of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the recently retired military council head and defense minister, Erian responded that any citizen proven guilty of a crime must be held to account. No one is above accountability, Erian added.
Edited translation from MENA