Al-Watan Party open to Copts, women

Jan. 4, 2013 at 11:59 AM

CAIRO, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- The new Salafist al-Watan Party in Egypt will encourage women to be involved politically, the party's deputy leader, Yousry Hammad, said Friday.

Hammad discussed the party, formed Tuesday, during an interview with the London newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. He left the Salafist Party Nour to join al-Watan, which also includes former Salafist Party Nour leader Emad Abdel-Ghafour.

Besides encouraging women to seek public office, Hammad said the al-Watan Party would welcome Coptic Christians.

The Nour Party had a strong stand against women's participation in elections. The ultraconservative Islamist party was forced to add women to its electoral rolls during Egypt's last parliamentary elections to fulfill a quota, Ahram Online reported.

In response to the formation of al-Watan Party, the Salafist Calling -- considered the most influential Salafist movement -- said the Nour Party was its political arm.

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