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Egypt's Salafist party plays neutral amid anti-Islamist wave

The Nour Party, the last major Islamist party in Egypt, is sticking to pragmatic neutrality in an attempt to keep the Islamist current alive in Egyptian politics.
Nour party spokesman Nader Bakkar (L), chats with a party member next to Younes Makhyoun (R), the head of the party, during a news conference about constitution in Cairo December 5, 2013. The Islamist party that backed the army's ouster of President Mohamed Mursi urged Egyptians to vote in favor of a new constitution in an upcoming referendum, saying that would spare the country more turmoil. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany  (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS RELIGION) - RTX164ZM

CAIRO — The ambitions for the Nour Party, Egypt’s remaining Islamist political faction, today appear more volatile than ever. Since Mohammed Morsi’s ouster on July 3, 2013, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s subsequent fall, negative sentiments toward Islamist parties have filled Egyptian streets, amplified by the rise in related terror attacks. Anti-Islamist policies expressed by the popular presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who holds 76% of the constituency in the latest Baseera poll, further reflect the general climate of disdain surrounding Islamist parties. During his first televised appearance, Sisi reasserted his hard-line policies toward the Muslim Brotherhood and militant Islamists and his intent to apply legislation, namely Article 6 of the 2014 constitution, prohibiting the formation of a religious-based party.

Political Islam’s evident regression has caused the Salafist Nour Party to pay heavily in its reputation and constituent support, and explains its political detachment from the Islamist current.

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