Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Morsi seeks to reassure female and Christian voters



The Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential nominee attempted to shore up his support in Egypt today by offering to open up senior political positions for Christians and promising not to impose Islamic dress codes for women.

The pledges, made during a speech by Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi, were coupled with a promise to protect the rights of pro-democracy protesters – many of whom believe the Islamic organisation betrayed Egypt’s uprising by refusing to endorse numerous rallies last year.

His speech came as Egyptians braced themselves for the prospect of further political unrest, with the nation awaiting Saturday’s verdict in the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak.

A pall of uncertainty has descended over the country following last week's presidential elections. Many activists expressed outrage over the unexpected success of Ahmed Shafik, Mr Mubarak’s hastily-appointed and short-lived Prime Minister last year.

In a sign of mounting unease, Mr Shafik’s campaign headquarters were torched by a mob late on Monday night following an official announcement confirming his second-place finish in last week’s elections. After arriving outside his west Cairo office, a group of young men lobbed bricks through the windows and tore up pictures of the former air force chief. Eight people were later arrested, though it was not immediately clear who was to blame.

The attack came after hundreds of protesters marched through the centre of the capital demanding that Mr Shafik be disqualified from next month’s presidential run-off.

The ex-fighter pilot is due to face Mr Morsi – the winner of last week’s first round vote – but Egypt’s parliament recently passed a bill preventing any person who served alongside Hosni Mubarak over the past ten years from running for President. The bill, if enacted, would torpedo Mr Shafik’s candidacy – but judges are not due to rule on its legitimacy until a few days before the June 16 run-off.

“We have carried out the revolution against the authoritarian regime, which was run by Hosni Mubarak,” said columnist Ibrahim Mansour, writing in yesterday’s anti-establishment Al-Tahrir newspaper. “And without doubt, Ahmed Shafik is a natural extension of Hosni Mubarak.”

His views sum up the feelings of many activists, who believe that the election of Mr Mubarak’s friend and one-time colleague would be a disastrous legacy for last year’s uprising.

With Hosni Mubarak’s sentencing rapidly approaching – in which a verdict perceived as being too lenient could trigger further unrest – the stage is set for yet more conflict.

“The way things are at the moment, I think it is turning into a situation where things might escalate,” said Egyptian journalist Amal al-Nakeeb.

Although youth groups have promised to descend on Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square for more rallies this Friday, the relatively modest protests which have erupted so far have raised questions over the legitimacy of the revolutionary movement.

Last week millions of Egyptians cast their votes for the authoritarian Ahmed Shafik and former Mubarak minister Amr Moussa. It suggests there is now a great deal of ambivalence surrounding further challenges to Egypt’s still-popular military establishment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas