Egypt's influential Muslim Brotherhood is keeping a low profile in the current unrest because it does not want the revolt to be seen as an Islamic revolution, one of its leaders said in an interview to be published on Monday.
"It is an uprising of the Egyptian people," spokesman Rashad al-Bayoumi told the German weekly Der Spiegel, while accusing President Hosni Mubarak's government of distorting the image of the movement.
"The West won't listen to us, but we're not devils," he said. "We want peace not violence." "Our religion is not diabolic, it respects the believers of other religions, they are our principles."
US Republican senator John McCain, in a separate interview with the weekly, said it would be a great mistake to include the Muslim Brotherhood in a future transitional Egyptian government.
"They are an extremist group whose main objective is the installation of Sharia law," he was quoted as saying. "It's anti democratic from top to bottom, particularly when it concerns women's rights."
The Muslim Brotherhood's leader Mohammed Badie said on Friday the group is ready to hold talks on the transition from Mubarak's rule once he has resigned. "We stand with all the political forces supporting dialogue with whoever wants to implement reforms in the country after the departure of this unjust, corrupt tyrant," he told the Qatar based satellite channel Al Jazeera.
"We have a single demand. Once it is met we will engage in dialogue," he said in response to a question about the Muslim Brotherhood's willingness to enter dialogue with newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman.
In a television address late on Thursday, Suleiman announced he was open to including the Muslim Brotherhood in talks he plans to hold with the opposition.
"We reached out to them. They were invited. They hesitated," Suleiman said of the Brotherhood, which is officially banned but tolerated in Egypt.