Islamic parties abandon support for Brotherhood

After the Nahda Square sit-in was violently dispersed and the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in anxiously awaited the same treatment on Wednesday, preliminary signs from heads of Islamic parties known for alliances with the Muslim Brotherhood indicated that they did not intend to participate in any protests that might turn violent. 

Khaled al-Sharif, spokesperson for the Construction and Development Party, the Jama’a al-Islamiya’s political wing, said his party believes that dialogue is the only way out of this tense situation. 

“What happened this morning was unacceptable aggression against protesters defending their cause. At the same time, we refuse meeting violence with violence, we condemn what some pro-Morsi protesters did in burning churches and police stations. We will not join any violent acts of vandalism,” he said.

Sherif added that his party is a member of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, which means some members may be present at the two sit-ins supporting deposed President Mohamed Morsi, but he did not expect any of them to have been injured during the day. 

“I have to emphasize that dialogue and negotiations are the only solution for this crisis. Both pro and anti-Morsi citizens need to take a step back to think and stop protesting,” he said.

The Jama’a al-Islamiya were in a political alliance with the Brotherhood since the 2011 parliamentary elections, which allowed them to be represented in parliament for the first time in their history, but observers believe that this alliance has been abandoned since the army overthrew Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood, on July 3.

Moreover, it appears that the Salafi-led Nour Party does not intend to ignore previous political differences with the Brotherhood to declare actual support for the protests. 

Sherif Taha, the Nour Party spokesperson, told state-run Al-Ahram newspaper that “dispersing the pro-Morsi sit-ins by force will complicate matters” and reiterated that his party insists there is no substitute for a political solution to end the current crisis.

Taha called on the state to stop all forms of violence against protesters, but also called on protesters to use self-restraint and stop attacks on churches and state buildings. He warned that a civil war could now be imminent.

The toll of today’s violence across Egypt has reached 149 dead and 1,403 injured, according to the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, following news of his arrest at the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in, Brotherhood leader and general secretary of Freedom and Justice Party Mohamed al-Beltagy announced on Brotherhood-run TV channel Ahrar 25 that he had not been detained and that his daughter had been killed in the clashes. 

“I lost my daughter today, but I’m not sad because I know she’s a martyr. At the same time, I’m asking all Egyptians to take to the streets and squares to stop this military coup, and stop the killing of their brothers. Otherwise, we are facing a brutal military rule that will finish us all,” he said.