- Middle East/North Africa
Jama’a al-Islamiya leaders have slammed Egyptian opposition groups, accusing them of waging war on Islam ahead of anti-government protests planned for 30 June.
Assem Abdel Magued, a member of Jama'a al-Islamiya’s Shura Council, dubbed Tamarod opposition campaign leaders “hostile to Islam” on Friday.
In an interview with the pro-President Mohamed Morsy Salafi-oriented Hafez satellite channel, Abdel Magued said that Tamarod is led by “communists, Nasserist, remnants [of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime] and Coptic extremists.”
The campaign, which translates as "rebel" in Arabic, had been financed by “corrupt businessmen,” he claimed.
“All the remnants of the former regime have signed the rebellion petition, notably [former prime minister] Ahmed Shafiq, [former Arab League secretary general and foreign minister] Amr Moussa and the former defendants in the Battle of the Camel [case], in order to overthrow the revolution...They do not want a regime brought by the revolution,” Abdel Magued argued.
The Jama'a al-Islamiya leader said that 30 June, a day when opposition forces plan huge protests against Morsy's government, would witness another "Battle of the Camel," one of the worst days of violence during Egypt's 2011 revolution.
On 1 February 2011, men on horses and camels attacked peaceful protesters inside Tahrir Square. Scores were injured during the skirmish.
Another Jama'a al-Islamiya Shura Council member, Safwat Abdel Ghany, meanwhile said the current dispute was not in fact about President Morsy, his policies or Egypt's economic crisis.
Rather it represented a "war on Islam," he claimed.
Abdel Ghany, a leading figure in the group’s Construction and Development Party, said Islamist forces would not advocate violence or thuggery at protests, speaking during a Fayoum rally organised by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party on Friday.
“We say it clearly. We are against any drop of blood shed from any Egyptian. But, if we are forced, it is our right to defend ourselves by force,” Abdel Ghany added. “We will not be the first to attack or to use violence, but whoever wants to burn down our headquarters or the nation, we will confront them.”
Abdel Ghany, a Shura Council member, pointed to unrest in Turkey's Taksim Square as well as Tunisia, the Gaza Strip and Palestine and Libya, stressing that the "war on Islam" could be seen across the Middle East.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm