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Newly-appointed Luxor Governor Adel Asaad said he would boost tourism in the governorate, stressing that his allegiance is to the Egyptian people, not to Jama'a al-Islamiya.
A decision by President Mohamed Morsy to appoint 7 Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated governors sparked controversy Monday, focusing on the appointment of Asaad, a Jama'a al-Islamiya official who has been implicated in the 1997 terror attack in Luxor, which killed 62 people, many of them foreign tourists.
Asaad said in a phone-in with Al-Tahrir channel on Monday evening: "I am here to boost tourism, fight unemployment and provide job opportunities. The tourist cannot be afraid under my governance."
President Mohamed Morsy appointed new governors for 17 provinces, Sunday, to which the opposition vehemently objected.
Asaad belongs to Jama’a al-Islamiya, a hardline Islamist group blamed for killing 59 tourists in al-Deir al-Bahari, Luxor, in 1997.
Radical fatwas were issued after the 25 January revolution, prohibiting relics and calling for imposing restrictions on tourists in line with Islamic Sharia.
Asaad denied that Jama'a al-Islamiya had been involved in the 1997 violence.
"The people who did that were suffering from great injustice and they carried out the incident for fear of being arrested," he added.
"The state is responsible for the protection of tourists. The tourist in Luxor can arrive and travel safely as he wishes."
"Just give us an opportunity to work," he said.
Asaad stressed allegiance to the Egyptian people and to Luxor. "I will rule justly between people. I will form a council of wise men, revolution youth, village chiefs and elders to consult on the governorate issues."
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm