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Fact Sheets: Egyptian Presidential Elections - Khairat El-Shater

(Updated June 2012)

Khairat El-Shater is an engineer and businessman who has been an active leader in the Muslim Brotherhood since the mid-1980's. In 1995, El-Shater served as head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Greater Cairo branch. In 2007, El-Shater was imprisoned by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as part of his crackdown on the Brotherhood and he was not released until March 2011 after the Supreme Council of Armed Forces took control of the government following the January 2011 revolution.

In March 2012, the Brotherhood's "Freedom and Justice" Party announced El-Shater as their official candidate for the presidential elections set for May 2012.  Though the Brotherhood originally said they would not field a candidate, and El-Shater had said he would not run, they both reveresed these prior announcements. This is the first time that a member of the organization has ever run for the top spot in Egypt's government.

In early April 2012, Egypt's ruling military dropped two outstanding convictions against El-Shater which would have prevented him from running in the elections. However, on April 16, the Supreme Presidential Election Committee officially disqualified El-Shater from candidacy because of these prior convictions.

Below is a sampling of his views on certain important issues:
Changing the Government | Relations with Israel | Cooperating with Islamists

On Changing the Government in Egypt

- ""Our foremost aim is achieving progress based on Islamic principles."
(Reuters, April 2012)

- "Recent elections have proved that Egyptians demand an explicitly Islamic state ... the Islamist landslide in the parliamentary elections is an indisputable democratic mandate for an explicitly Islamic government."
(Al Ahram, April 2012)

- "I consider [Omar Suleiman's presidential candidacy] an insult to the revolution and the Egyptian people ... Omar Suleiman has made a big mistake. He will only win through forgery and, if this happens, the revolution will kick off again."
(Reuters, April 2012)

- "Even if there are issues with the military council's handling of the transitional period, such issues must be resolved in a way that does not lead to a real clash with the armed forces. We must, in fact, work to strengthen and develop the army."
(Reuters, April 2012)

On the Muslim Brotherhood & Islamism

- "I chose [to join] the Muslim Brotherhood because, away from the vicious smears by the Mubarak regime, it is a vision for the renaissance of the nations, a vision for renaissance with an Islamic reference."
(Al-Mehwar TV, April 2012)

- "Everywhere the Brothers are working to restore Islam in its all-encompassing conception to the lives of the people. Thus the mission is clear: restoring Islam in its all-encompassing conception, subjugating people to God, instituting the religion of God, the Islamization of life, empowering of God's religion, establishing the renaissance of the [worldwide Muslim nation] on the basis of Islam... Every aspect of life is to be Islamized."
(Lecture in Alexandria, April 2011)

- "We were taught in method of the Muslim Brotherhood that with regard to this overall mission ... [must start with] the Muslim individual, the Muslim family, the Muslim society, the Islamic government, the Global Islamic State ... If all of these secondary objectives are completed, the overall mission is achieved, that is the Empowerment of God's Religion."
(Lecture in Alexandria, April 2011)

On Relations with Israel

- "We respect all Egypt's treaties, with Israel and others. Egypt is a country of institutions, and we cannot enforce any singular or personal view ... we will maintain any treaty that benefits Egypt and its national and regional security, overturn any that do not."
(Al-Mehwar TV, April 2012)

- "As Egyptians we will abide by the commitments of the Egyptian government regardless of our reservations of any part of them ... We commit to all matters pertaining to the agreements in general, and not only with Israel. All agreements, be they gas or petroleum or anything else, are tied to institutions and not individuals."
(Al-Ahram, April 2012)

- "[I call on] Arab and Muslim peoples to prepare for Jihad, and boycott all forms of dealing with the Zionist-American enemy and the states that support it."
(Ikhwanonline, 2004)

- "[The killing of Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin] was a heinous crime corresponding to the perfidious nature of the Zionist enemy."
(Wall Street Journal)