Moderates worried about success of Egypt's ultraconservative Islamists



CAIRO // Their campaign was built on promises to ban alcohol, enforce dress codes for women and cover Egypt's ancient pharaoh statues in wax.

The country's ultraconservative Islamists, or Salafis, surprisingly garnering nearly a quarter of the vote, are set to take centre stage by controlling a strong portion of parliament.

Their victory has raised fears at home and abroad of a new Egyptian government influenced by hardliners.

"The people love Islam. They want to be ruled by Islam," said Adl Taha, 42, an organiser for the country's most prominent Salafist political party, Al Nour (The Light), in a poor neighbourhood in Alexandria on election day.

Moderate Egyptians, many foreign governments and others worry that the Salafis, emboldened after an uprising that toppled the president, Hosni Mubarak, will curtail personal freedoms and halt the flow of tourists, Egypt's main source of revenue.

Salaf is an Arabic word that refers to practicing Islam in the manner of the Prophet Mohammed's followers in 7th and 8th century Arabia. The Salafists follow a strict interpretation of Sharia derived from Saudi Arabia's fundamentalist Wahabbi sect.

Salafist organisations normally shun electoral politics as un-Islamic. But here they are calling for the implementation of Islamic law through the ballot box.

"We can say that they are extremists," Ali Thabet, the head of the more moderate Islamist organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood, said of Al Nour and its followers.

The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) swept the first round of legislative polls in nine governorates on November 28, capturing 48 per cent of the available seats in the first free elections since February's revolt.

Al Nour, established in June and leading an electoral alliance of smaller Salafi parties, came in second with nearly 25 per cent. The Egyptian Bloc, a grouping of liberal secular parties, got 16 per cent.

The upcoming rounds, held over the next four weeks, are not expected to drastically change the results.

"Personally, I did not expect them [Al Nour] to get more than 10-15 per cent of the vote," Mr Thabet said. "But I don't think they will do well in the next rounds. The people want moderation."

But the Salafis say they have two million core voters, drawn from their years of grassroots charitable works and social activities in poor neighbourhoods. Al Nour's precursor was the apolitical Al Daawa organisation founded by Salafist followers in Alexandria in the 1970s. Preferring strict Sharia, its members baulked at the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"We are popular among the Egyptian people," said Al Nour party spokesman, Youssri Hamad. "For 30 years, we carried out activities for the poor, for the widows. This is why we have so much support."

Mr Hamad said the Salafis finally decided to establish a political party to protect Egypt's Islamic identity.

Of the country's 85 million people, about 90 per cent are Muslim.

Another 10 per cent are Coptic Christians, whom Al Nour says should be banned from running for president.

One of the lingering questions after the Salafi win is the amount of influence they will have over the Muslim Brotherhood in parliament, moderates and political analysts say.

Many are worried Al Nour and the Salafis will pull the FJP to the far right, resulting in more stringent Islamic laws.

The Brotherhood has emphasised its openness and political pragmatism, saying it will not force women to cover-up or cancel Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.

"I don't like the Brotherhood and I think they are dangerous," said Marwan Yassin, 21, an activist with the April 6 Coalition, a revolutionary group. "But the Salafis are even worse. They are playing a dirty game, and if they come to power, they will show their true face. They will make problems for the Brotherhood in government"

Still, some in the Brotherhood feel the challenges of governance will have a more moderating effect on the Islamists.

Al Nour "focus on specific aspects of Sharia but their political thought is improving," said Ahmed El Nahhas, a Brotherhood leader in Alexandria. "They are embracing political plurality and when they are in the parliament, they will adjust to the new reality of having to accept other opinions."

Ismaa Aslan, a computer-science student at Alexandria University, supports the Salafis and said they are likely to rattle western countries who have concerns about human rights.

"First we have to show the world that we are democratic, then we can pursue an Islamic government," said the 21-year-old Ms Aslan, who chooses to wear a veil. "We have to show them that there are extremists and non-extremists and that Salafis give more freedom to women. They protect us."

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Started: 2019

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Sundar Pichai

Chief executive, Google and Alphabet

Satya Nadella

Chief executive, Microsoft

Ajaypal Singh Banga

President and chief executive, Mastercard

Shantanu Narayen

Chief executive, chairman, and president, Adobe

Indra Nooyi  

Board of directors, Amazon and former chief executive, PepsiCo

 

 

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Favourite hobby: taking his rescue dog, Sally, for long walks.

Favourite book: anything by Stephen King, although he said the films rarely match the quality of the books

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption stands out as his favourite movie, a classic King novella

Favourite music: “I have a wide and varied music taste, so it would be unfair to pick a single song from blues to rock as a favourite"

UAE SQUAD

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Teams

Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Sahibzada Farhan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Khan Shanwari, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Corey Anderson, Mark Chapman, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

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How they line up for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix

1 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

2 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari

3 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

4 Max Verstappen, Red Bull

5 Kevin Magnussen, Haas

6 Romain Grosjean, Haas

7 Nico Hulkenberg, Renault

*8 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull

9 Carlos Sainz, Renault

10 Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

11 Fernando Alonso, McLaren

12 Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren

13 Sergio Perez, Force India

14 Lance Stroll, Williams

15 Esteban Ocon, Force India

16 Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso

17 Marcus Ericsson, Sauber

18 Charles Leclerc, Sauber

19 Sergey Sirotkin, Williams

20 Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso

* Daniel Ricciardo qualified fifth but had a three-place grid penalty for speeding in red flag conditions during practice

57 Seconds

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Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Morgan Freeman, Greg Germann, Lovie Simone
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Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

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Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Abu Dhabi race card

5pm: Maiden (PA) | Dh80,000 | 1,600m
5.30pm: Maiden (PA) | ​​​​​​​Dh80,000 | 1,400m
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Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

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Founders: Khaled Al Huraimel, Matti Zinder, Amin Al Zarouni

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: AI, metaverse, Web3 and blockchain

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Dubai World Cup nominations

UAE: Thunder Snow/Saeed bin Suroor (trainer), North America/Satish Seemar, Drafted/Doug Watson, New Trails/Ahmad bin Harmash, Capezzano, Gronkowski, Axelrod, all trained by Salem bin Ghadayer

USA: Seeking The Soul/Dallas Stewart, Imperial Hunt/Luis Carvajal Jr, Audible/Todd Pletcher, Roy H/Peter Miller, Yoshida/William Mott, Promises Fulfilled/Dale Romans, Gunnevera/Antonio Sano, XY Jet/Jorge Navarro, Pavel/Doug O’Neill, Switzerland/Steve Asmussen.

Japan: Matera Sky/Hideyuki Mori, KT Brace/Haruki Sugiyama. Bahrain: Nine Below Zero/Fawzi Nass. Ireland: Tato Key/David Marnane. Hong Kong: Fight Hero/Me Tsui. South Korea: Dolkong/Simon Foster.

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

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Champions League quarter-final, first leg

Ajax v Juventus, Wednesday, 11pm (UAE)

Match on BeIN Sports

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Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

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August 5:

Round-1 of the President’s Cup in Al Ain.

August 11-13:

Asian Championship in Vietnam.

September 8-9:

Ajman International.

September 16-17

Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, Ashgabat.

September 22-24:

IJJF Balkan Junior Open, Montenegro.

September 23-24:

Grand Slam Los Angeles.

September 29:

Round-1 Mother of The Nation Cup.

October 13-14:

Al Ain U18 International.

September 20-21:

Al Ain International.

November 3:

Round-2 Mother of The National Cup.

November 4:

Round-2 President’s Cup.

November 10-12:

Grand Slam Rio de Janeiro.

November 24-26:

World Championship, Columbia.

November 30:

World Beach Championship, Columbia.

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Dubai International.

December 23:

Round-3 President’s Cup, Sharjah.

January 12-13:

Grand Slam Abu Dhabi.

January 26-27:

Fujairah International.

February 3:

Round-4 President’s Cup, Al Dhafra.

February 16-17:

Ras Al Khaimah International.

February 23-24:

The Challenge Championship.

March 10-11:

Grand Slam London.

March 16:

Final Round – Mother of The Nation.

March 17:

Final Round – President’s Cup.

Day 5, Abu Dhabi Test: At a glance

Moment of the day When Dilruwan Perera dismissed Yasir Shah to end Pakistan’s limp resistance, the Sri Lankans charged around the field with the fevered delirium of a side not used to winning. Trouble was, they had not. The delivery was deemed a no ball. Sri Lanka had a nervy wait, but it was merely a stay of execution for the beleaguered hosts.

Stat of the day – 5 Pakistan have lost all 10 wickets on the fifth day of a Test five times since the start of 2016. It is an alarming departure for a side who had apparently erased regular collapses from their resume. “The only thing I can say, it’s not a mitigating excuse at all, but that’s a young batting line up, obviously trying to find their way,” said Mickey Arthur, Pakistan’s coach.

The verdict Test matches in the UAE are known for speeding up on the last two days, but this was extreme. The first two innings of this Test took 11 sessions to complete. The remaining two were done in less than four. The nature of Pakistan’s capitulation at the end showed just how difficult the transition is going to be in the post Misbah-ul-Haq era.

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MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, second leg

Roma 4
Milner (15' OG), Dzeko (52'), Nainggolan (86', 90+4')

Liverpool 2
Mane (9'), Wijnaldum (25')

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Fuel economy, combined: 12.7L / 100km

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