| 5.2°C Dublin

Riddle of Morsi's extreme views

MOHAMMED Morsi is a puzzle for Westerners with a conventional view of Islamists.

He has a track record of inflammatory speech-making, calling for women and Christians to be barred from Egypt's presidency, denouncing Israel, and saying the prime role of the state lies in enforcing Sharia and spreading Islam.

But he is also US-educated and committed to a pluralistic democracy. Two of his sons hold US passports. He has refused to discuss the issues that for outsiders symbolise whether a country is to be thoroughly "Islamised"-- the veil and alcohol.

The group said it will not limit people's personal freedoms, and will respect the minorities' views. In truth, Dr Morsi is one of several senior Brotherhood functionaries who will now dictate Egypt's policies, even to the extent that the army allows them to do so. He is on the Brotherhood council but is outranked by its "Guide", Mohammed Badie.

Most important of those in political terms is Khairat al-Shater, the group's chief strategist and Dr Morsi's main patron. In his religious views, Mr Shater is conservative; but he is also a multi-millionaire businessman.

Mr Shater and Dr Morsi have been the public face of the Brotherhood's "Renaissance Project", the name they have given their political campaign. Few observers disagree its policies, of encouraging private enterprise and cutting corruption, promoting a more modern, technical education and fighting poverty, are not needed. What remains to be seen is whether they really have the will, and political and administrative skills necessary, to put them into place. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent