CAIRO: Senior Muslim Brotherhood (MB) member Mohsen Rady said Monday that presidential hopeful Hazem Abu Ismail is not an official member of their group.
Press reports had earlier said Islamic preacher and lawyer Abu Ismail belongs to the MB and will run for president.
“Abu Ismail is a Brotherhood advocate who adopts the group’s ideology. But he is not an active member,” said Rady, the former official spokesman of the MB parliamentary bloc.
However, Abu Ismail defines himself as a prominent Brotherhood figure on his official website.
In 2005, Abu Ismail competed over the People’s Assembly seat in Giza’s Dokki constituency as an MB candidate but lost against the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) candidate, claiming that the authorities forged the results.
“Sometimes the group used to support parliamentary election candidates who follow its principles,” Rady explained, saying that the MB has not yet decided its stance on Abu Ismail’s presidential candidacy.
“We haven’t settled on a certain candidate to support yet. But I personally don’t think the group will support Abu Ismail,” he added.
Brotherhood candidates used to run in elections as independents because the group was legally banned during the era of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
Over 20 pages on the social networking site Facebook, mostly promoting Abu Ismail’s candidacy, have collectively gathered a few hundred supporters so far.
Abu Ismail presents two weekly shows on Islamic El-Nas satellite TV channel. He is known for his conservative and controversial religious views.
He was also a member of the defense team representing MB members prosecuted before military courts during the rule of the previous regime.
Earlier this month, MB senior member Abdel-Moniem Aboul Fotouh announced his intention to run for president.
The decision stirred controversy after the group had recurrently said it would not field any presidential candidates. Neither would the Brotherhood support any members who ran as independents.
According to Rady, the group has formed a committee to investigate the issue and discuss Aboul Fotouh’s status in case he reiterates his decision to vie for the presidency.
Aboul Fotouh said last month during a televised interview that if he ran for president, he would quit the group on the administrative level not on the ideological one and join the competition as an independent.
The presidential polls are slated for the end of 2011.