Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was briefly mentioned in a US presidential debate in Miami Thursday night, when right-wing candidate Ted Cruz from the Republican Party discussed Muslims and US national interests.
“Let me give you an example of a Muslim we ought to be standing with,” said Ted Cruz, responding to an earlier comment by the leading Republican candidate Donald Trump. “President Al-Sisi of Egypt is a president of a Muslim country who is targeting radical Islamic terrorists. He’s hunting them down and stomping on them.”
This is not the first time Ted Cruz has mentioned Al-Sisi as a great example of a leader. Last year, during the first Republican presidential debate, he also took the time to praise the Egyptian president for his campaign against terror groups.
“Why don’t we see the president of the United States demonstrating that same courage [as Al-Sisi] and speak the truth about the face of evil we’re facing right now?” he questioned.
Ted Cruz, who enjoys support from Tea Party groups, is considered even more extreme in his policies than Donald Trump, who has made headlines on several occasions for his comments on Muslims.
Ted Cruz has a “Christian Zionist ideology” and his policies would be dangerous for the Middle East region, said Karim Makdisi, associate professor of political studies at the American University in Beirut, in an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly.
“He is incredibly dangerous – a dangerously right-wing fanatic,” said Makdisi, pointing out that Ted Cruz has strong ties to Israel.
The US political news blog thinkprogress.org wrote about Ted Cruz’s comment and highlighted several negative cases in Egypt concerning human rights, aiming to put the candidate’s praise of Al-Sisi into perspective.
Meanwhile, in the elections to select the Democrat and Republican frontrunners, Donald Trump leads the Republican nomination with 459 delegates, while Ted Cruz comes second with 360, and Marco Rubio third with 152. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton is ahead with 1,223 points, while her rival Bernie Sanders has 574.