Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, emerging as the biggest winner in the first round of parliamentary elections, is seeking to reassure Egyptians that it will not sacrifice personal freedoms in promoting Islamic law.
The deputy head of the Brotherhood’s new political party, Essam el-Erian, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Saturday that the group is not interested in imposing Islamic values on Egypt, home to a sizable Christian minority and others who object to being subject to strict Islamic codes.
“We represent a moderate and fair party,” el-Erian said of his Freedom and Justice Party. “We want to apply the basics of Shariah law in a fair way that respects human rights and personal rights,” he said.
The comments were the clearest indication that the Brotherhood was distancing itself from the ultraconservative Islamist Nour Party, which appears to have won the second-largest share of votes in the election’s first phase.
The Nour Party espouses a strict interpretation of Islam similar to that of Saudi Arabia, where the sexes are segregated and women must be veiled and are barred from driving vehicles in the country.