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Islamists to compete in Egyptian election

April 5, 2011 at 2:03 PM

CAIRO, April 5 (UPI) -- Salafist organization Ansar al-Sunna announced plans to run in Egyptian parliamentary elections set for September, an influential cleric said.

Salafist cleric Mohamed Hassan said some leaders of Ansar al-Sunna plan to run for Parliament in Cairo and Alexandria, Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reports.

Military rulers in Cairo announced plans for parliamentary and presidential elections to form a new government. A February revolution forced Hosni Mubarak to resign as president after three decades in power.

Hassan said Islamists can't be barred from political participation, noting the Salafist movement intends to form a political party in Egypt.

Hassan dismissed concerns that his organization was intent on creating an Islamist state in post-Mubarak Egypt.

"Islam shouldn't be feared. It is not only the religion of Prophet Mohammed, it was the belief of all preceding messengers," he was quoted as saying. "Islam should not be used as a tool for intimidation."

Hassan's group, the Egyptian newspaper reports, generally eschews politics in favor of conservative religious principles.

The group in December condemned a religious ruling issued by one of its members sanctioning the assassination of Egyptian reformist Mohammed ElBaradei.

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