Jama’a al-Islamiya ready for new sacrifices if Shafiq comes to power

Jama'a al-Islamiya is ready to make "new sacrifices" if Shafiq comes to power, said MP Amer Abdel Rahim, speaker for the movement's political party in Parliament, the Construction and Development Party.

The group was the first to confront ex-President Mubarak, Abdel Rahim added.

"We base our decision on the interests of the nation and we are ready to consult others, because only public interest is behind our decisions regarding the country," he said.

The MP said that Jama'a al-Islamiya will go down to the streets to start a new revolution if Shafiq comes to power through fraudulent elections, but that they would accept Shafiq if he wins through fair elections based on a political process that the group accepted and participated in.

“Islamic parties will struggle in the political arena. They know that Shafiq's coming to power means the return of the former regime with all of its policies. We will not be intimidated by prisons, as we have been guests there for the last 30 years,” Abdel Rahim said.

The Construction and Development Party will participate in the electoral process until its conclusion, and will advocate for the right to peaceful demonstration to safeguard the achievements of the revolution, he added.

Abdel Rahim expressed concern that Shafiq, if elected president, could revive the ousted regime’s policies of imprisoning Jama'a al-Islamiya members.

"Shafiq's statements show that his policy will not be different from Mubarak's. He seemed to threaten not only the Muslim Brotherhood, but the whole Islamic movement,” he said.

"We know that Shafiq will adopt Mubarak’s same policy of exclusion of the Islamists, and maybe worse. Shafiq's coming to power means jailing all opponents, not only Islamists."

Abdel Rahim expressed fears that all Egyptian people could be harmed by Shafiq’s policies, adding that Jama’a al-Islamiya will not be intimidated by Shafiq's threats.

“We expect the worst if Shafiq comes to power. Shafiq’s speech implies that he is enjoying the support of security institutions and he draws his power from this,” Abdel Rahim said, adding that “this is no longer a wining card.”

Jama’a al-Islamiya engaged in armed confrontations with government security forces in the 1990s, seeking to overthrow the Mubarak regime and establish an Islamic state. However, in the late 1990s, the group announced it would abandon its violent jihadi ideology, and apologized for previous attacks that had killed hundreds.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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