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Egyptian Cabinet Targets Islamic Parties

Egypt's cabinet to review the legal status of political parties ahead of coming elections to ensure none are formed on a 'religious basis.'
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 8/12/2011, 3:56 PM

Egypt’s caretaker junta said Thursday it will audit all political parties ahead of coming elections to ensure they conform to the nation's party formation law - in particular the prohibition of forming political parties on religious basis.

The cabinet said it will review the commitment of political parties to the law, to ensure the integrity of political processes while building democracy.
 
The statement noted that in light of the recent conflicting slogans and foreign flags raised by some political groups, the cabinet felt that it needed to express its deep concern.
 
It added that the government supports maintaining Egypt’s national identity, in which people live in a civil state based on the Constitution, supremacy of law, social justice, equality and respect for human rights.
 
The move comes as the Muslim Brotherhood prepares to head a combined list of sixteen political parties going into the next elections and extremist Islamic Salafist parties prepare to run their own list.
 
Leading Brotherhood figures -- as well as other leading Islamist politicos -- have called for a state governed by Sharia law, and some Salafi parties raised the Saudi Arabian flag in a Tahrir Square protest on 29 July, stressing what they saw as Egypt’s Islamic identity.
 
Alarmed that the Salafists or the Brotherhood might prevail, Egypt's ruling military council has yet to set an election date. But it will not be able to postpone it indefinitely, and many Egyptians appear sympathetic to the Islamists, Abu Toameh writes.
 
Since Mubarak's ouster, Salafists and their supporters have been accused of encouraging and participating in a wave of violence against Christians and secularists in Egypt.
 
The cabinet asserted it would move toward achieving the goals of the revolution by first restoring security and stability, and then stimulating the economy and pushing for political and democratic transformation.