By Heba Fahmy
CAIRO: The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) denied on Wednesday media reports claiming that its leader Mohamed Morsi described those who called for postponing parliamentary elections as “Zionists” and remnants of the former regime.
Saad El-Katatney, secretary general and cofounder of the FJP denied a report published by Al-Masry Al-Youm on Tuesday claiming that Morsi made these statements during a press conference held in Mansoura on Monday.
The article also includes an audio recording reportedly of Morsi making those statements.
“[Those who say that the nation’s] security is in jeopardy and [claim] that there will be bloodshed if the [parliamentary] elections are held now and say that the elections must be postponed are Zionists and remnants of Zionism, who are also remnants of the former regime,” Morsi reportedly said in the recording.
“The outside world now, especially the Zionists and Americans don’t want Egypt to [have stability],” Morsi was quoted as saying.
According to the article, Morsi claimed that Zionists and Americans have given 60 Egyptian institutions LE 240 million — each institution receiving LE 4 million.
“What are the institutions doing with this money?” he asked, insinuating that these institutions support and serve US interests.
Ghada Abdel Hafez, the Al-Masry Al-Youm reporter who wrote the article, told Daily News Egypt that the conference was recorded in both audio and video.
“Morsi hasn’t even denied the accusations himself,” she said, adding that other members of the MB who weren’t present at the conference are the ones who denied it.
“Most of the MB’s statements insult the press and opposition that criticize them,” she said. “They depend on conspiracy theories and [accusations] of treason in their statements like the former corrupt regime used to do.”
The National Association for Change (NAC) and the Egyptian National Council issued a joint statement on Wednesday condemning Morsi’s statements.
The statement said that “this low level of political dialogue,” affects the nation’s unity, fuels rifts between people and doesn’t help push the country forward.
It added that Morsi’s statements were reminiscent of the ousted regime’s reaction to the opposition, by making groundless accusations that aim to discredit their opponents.
“We [refuse] to replace the dictatorship of the ousted Mubarak regime with the Muslim Brotherhood and the FJP,” the statement read.
El-Katatney rejected the statement calling on NAC not to be fooled by false reports published by Al-Masry Al-Youm in a bid to harm national unity, in a statement issued on Ikhwanonline on Wednesday.
He stressed that the Muslim Brotherhood was keen on uniting political powers and protecting the revolution against foreign enemies and remnants of the former regime.
However, Karima Al-Hifnawy, prominent member of the National Association for Change and the Kefaya opposition movement, was skeptical, saying that the group always contradicts itself.
“We’ve worked with the MB on many occasions and they always go back on their statements,” she told DNE.
Al-Hifnawy cited a conference in April before the referendum on the constitutional amendments, where the MB and all Islamic groups made similar accusations, describing those who advocated a no vote as complicit with the US.
NAC said that the MB’s statements accused at least 4 million Egyptians, headed by a group of renowned constitutional and political experts and intellectuals, known for their integrity and patriotism, even though it was the same Brotherhood group that recently welcomed a dialogue with the US.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced late June that the Obama administration is reaching out to the MB in a “limited” effort to build ties and promote democratic principles. The MB welcomed the initiative, as an indication that Washington has started recognizing the group as a significant political power in Egypt’s post-Hosni Mubarak era.
NAC and the Egyptian National Council stated that necessary legal procedures would be taken against MB leaders for the false accusations they made against those who opposed them. It also called on political powers to abstain from joining the MB’s proposal for creating a unified parties list in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Last month, the MB and Al-Wafd Party called on Egypt’s political parties to present a unified list to prepare for equal representation in parliament.