- Middle East/North Africa
It is impossible to turn Egypt into a Muslim Brotherhood state, said President-elect Mohamed Morsy during his meeting with local newspapers’ editors-in-chief on Thursday. The country will preserve its national character without being controlled by a particular political faction, he added.
When some editors suggested that his policies are those of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsy responded, “This is not true — my passion is for the Muslim Brotherhood, but my policy is not.” He pointed out that he knows this statement could open the door for personal attacks.
Morsy said that talk about providing reassurances to different segments of society dishearten him. “For example, current talk about giving guarantees to Copts is illogical,” he said. “They are equal citizens in this country, so they should not be concerned. The guarantees should not be given for one certain faction and not for others; they [the guarantees] are granted because we are all equal citizens in our country.”
While meeting with state-run, partisan and private newspaper editors-in-chief, Morsy said he is embracing three “no's”: “No to collision, no to mistrust, no to blackout.”
The new president stressed that it must be understood that all Egyptians should cooperate to turn the country in the right direction. “Even when we are fighting,” he explained, “we should work in favor of our country, to defend it against the enemy.”
Morsy said he refuses to allow any ambassador or foreign person to attend his oath swearing ceremony, saying that the event should be limited to Egyptians only. He added that the US State Department asked him to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton next Sunday, but he has postponed the meeting.
According to Al-Masry Al-Youm's news editor, the meeting's atmosphere was generally friendly, except when one editor-in-chief stood up abruptly to declare that he was not afraid of anyone.
Another attendee told the president, “Congratulations, of course, on the presidency,” to which Morsy jokingly replied, “It looks as if you're saying that unwillingly.”
Most privately-owned media have been publishing anti-Brotherhood sentiments since Morsy was declared the winner of the presidential election last Sunday. Al-Dostour newspaper, owned by Wafd businessman Reda Edward, has recently run a series of front page editorials that warn of a Brotherhood plot to bring down the state and spread chaos.
Prior to the 25 January revolution, media had been under the control of former President Hosni Mubarak, who was known to jail reporters, close down newspapers and impose fines when journalists crossed the regime.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm