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Fact Sheets: Egyptian Presidential Elections - Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh

(Updated June 2012)

Abdel Moneim Aboul is a physician by trade and an Islamist politician who was an outspoken critic of both the Sadat and Mubarak regimes, even before the January 2011 revolution which eventually ousted Mubarak.

Aboul-Fotouh joined the Muslim Brotherhood as a student leader in the 1970's and became an active member of the organization, even serving on its Guidance Bureau. Imprisoned by Mubarak in 1996, Aboul-Fotouh spent five years in prison under charges of belonging to the Islamist group.

In 2011, Aboul-Fotouh announced his intentions to run for president of Egypt, which conflicted with the policies of the Muslim Brotherhood and he was ousted from the group. Though the Brotherhood has now submitted its own candidate, Khairat El-Shater, Aboul-Fotouh stands out by promoting a more inclusive and open vision which has made him popular among pro-reform Brotherhood youth. In his campaign, he seeks to appeal to moderate Muslims and Egyptians wary of both Mubarak-era officials and hard-line Islamists.

Below is a sampling of his views on certain important issues:
Changing the Government | Relations with Israel | Muslim Brotherhood & Islamic Society | Relations with Iran

On Changing the Government in Egypt

- "We cannot allow anyone to send us back to the corrupt former regime. We need people who lived this revolution, who can carry this nation and build it by dropping the debts of farmers, combating unemployment, and be the face of the new republic ... Egypt is a strong country and we have to stand together in unity against those who want to divide us into Islamists and liberals."
(Presidential Debate, May 2012)

- "In seeking [economic] development, we encourage a free economy that involves local and foreign investments in a way that preserves social justice in Egypt, where 40 percent of the population is under the poverty line."
(Egypt Independent, March 2012)

- "First [priority]: deepening the freedom. Our people have been deprived of freedom and democracy for so much time. Secondly: deepening judicial system which has been severely injured. Third: increase educational and scientific system. There is no development without freedom, without justice, without learning."
(Italian Mediterranean Communication, Feburary 2012)

- "Despite what we have accomplished so far, such as the overthrow of the head of the former regime, Hosni Mubarak, the process of building a democratic system is not over yet, despite the end of the parliamentary elections. We need a parliament in line with the revolutionary agenda in order to restore the full sovereignty of the people, and a path to support the parliament in order to maintain this sovereignty."
(Bikya Masr, January 2012)

- "The army should go back to the barracks and hand over power to a civilian authority, otherwise the people will revolt again ... Egypt will always remain a civil state, not religious or military ... the military council has no intention of ruling the country."
(Middle East News Agency, October 2011)

- "I reject merging between political activities and those related to the Islamic call. This merger is to be expected in a Muslim Brotherhood-related political party. This would place the community under threat."
(The Majalla, September 2011)

- "Islamic Sharia is a main source for legislation and it is a constitutional reference for the Egyptian people. We have got to let the people choose as they please ... The religious state is something out of the Middle Ages. Islam does not advocate a religious state with a leader that judges people according to their god. This is not acceptable."
(The Majalla, September 2011)

- "First and foremost, upholding the values of justice and freedom, in addition to focusing on education and academic research, and creating opportunities for Arab and foreign investments."
(The Majalla, September 2011)

On Relations with Israel

- "Israel is an enemy which is built on occupation, owns 200 nuclear warheads, doesn't respect international decisions and attacks religious symbols. The majority of Egyptians are enemies of Israel. The agreement with Israel should be revised and the sections which are against our interests should be removed immediately."
(Presidential Debate, May 2012)

- "I do not and will not recognize Israel. But I will not impose that opinion on the Egyptian people."
(Egypt Independent, March 2012)

- "Not recognizing Israel does not mean by all means imposing this opinion on the Parliament, the Egyptian people or anyone. [Our] international ties are governed by international law ... We will be open to everyone, as long as [the relationship] fits with Egyptian interests."
(Al Mehwar, March 2012)

On the Muslim Brotherhood & Islamic Society

- "Muslim Brotherhood must not have any relation with those practicing politics; the [Freedom & Justice] party must be separated from the group."
(Italian Mediterranean Communication, Feburary 2012)

- "I do not represent [the Muslim Brotherhood] at the elections ... We'd like the Brotherhood to be open to people."
(The Majalla, September 2011)

- " Even the non-believer must have the same rights and duties. He is just an Egyptian citizen. The State that we want must be a State that protects its citizens in their religion."
(Italian Mediterranean Communication, Feburary 2012)

- "Even the laws of Shari’ah must pass through the Parliament. The Parliament may accept or refuse, under the respect only of the Constitutional Court, and not of a sheikh or an ulema. Of course, sheikhs have to advise, but they cannot control, they cannot oblige anybody."
(Italian Mediterranean Communication, Feburary 2012)

- "In Iran they oblige women to wear the hijab. In France they obliged women to put off hijab. And it is wrong for the Saudi Arabia to forbid women the right of driving a car. These are wrong interpretations of Islam, this is clearly against human individual freedom. When you oblige a man or a woman to do anything, under so-called Islamic rules, you will oblige people to be hypocrite."
(Italian Mediterranean Communication, Feburary 2012)

On Relations with Iran

- "Our relationship with Iran is based on our own independence. I am not against a relationship with Iran provided it don't proselytise the Shia faith in Egypt and likewise we shouldn't try to spread the Sunni faith there."
(Presidential Debate, May 2012)