- Title: EGYPT: Salafis cast their votes in the parliamentary election
- Date: 29th November 2011
- Summary: CAIRO, EGYPT (NOVEMBER 28, 2011) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VOTERS QUEUING TO VOTE IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION VOTERS WALKING INTO POLLING STATION NOUR PARTY MEMBER, NADA ABDUL EL MAATI TALKING TO COLLEAGUE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) NOUR PARTY MEMBER, NADA ABDUL EL MAATI SAYING: ''It's the first time I've participated in elections. It's our turn now and we want to fix life through religion.'' NOUR PARTY MEMBER TALKING ON PHONE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) NOUR PARTY MEMBER, NADA ABDUL EL MAATI SAYING: ''We want the country to move forward. The military council will have its time and move on. This is the first phase of rebuilding.'' VOTERS IN POLLING STATION VOTERS SEEN FROM INSIDE BALLOT BOX BALLOT BOX AND VOTERS IN POLLING STATION CAR WITH NOUR PARTY POSTER ON BONNET / CROWDS OUTSIDE POLLING STATION
- Embargoed: 14th December 2011 12:00
- Location: Egypt, Egypt
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Politics,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA53KA774LKDK70RUXXI080GS68
- Story Text: Salafis, from a centuries-old strict school of Islam, cast their votes on Monday (November 28) in Egypt's first free elections in living memory.
Outside a polling station in Cairo, Nour party member Nada Abdul El Maati said it was now their turn to stake a claim on Egypt's future after former leader Hosni Mubarak's was overthrown in the revolution of January-February 2011.
''It's the first time I've participated in elections. It's our turn now and we want to fix life through religion,'' said El Maati.
Running on a platform promoting complete commitment to Islamic sharia law the Nour (Light) party is the largest Salafi party in Egypt.
Their candidate lists feature men with long beards and shaven upper lips in the style Salafis believe the Prophet Mohammad favoured, and women whose faces are hidden by veils or replaced by symbols, at the women's request, the party says.
El Maati said it was time to rebuild the country.
''We want the country to move forward. The military council will have its time and move on. This is the first phase of rebuilding.'' The Salafi vision bars women and religious minorities, such as Christians, from top executive posts and seeks a return to Islamic codes that would ban alcohol, "un-Islamic" art and literature, and beach tourism that 'bares flesh'. It would also prescribe Islamic banking rules that would exclude interest.
In public, however, Salafi politicians emphasise economic and social programmes with a wider appeal.
Nour party posters proclaim: "Together we will build Egypt."
Judging Salafi support in Egypt's chaotic and fragmented political landscape is difficult, but analysts say the movement may have three million devoted backers across the social spectrum and may control 4,000 mosques nationwide, resources that could help to secure a loud voice in parliament.
Salafis may take votes from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the most established Islamist group, which professes a less strict view of how Islam should determine state policy.
Salafi scholars say their goal is to apply sharia according to what they consider the authentic principles of the Prophet Mohammad and early Muslims. Salafis once spurned politics, but now say they must step in to safeguard Egypt's Islamic identity.
They want to influence Egypt's new constitution, due to be drawn up by a 100-strong constituent assembly appointed by the parliament that emerges from the three-phase election that started on Monday and runs until early January 2012.
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