Al-Nour Party

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Al-Nour Party
حزب النور
Chairman Younes Makhioun [1]
Slogan Identity and Modern state
(Arabic: هوية و دولة عصرية‎)
Founded 12 May 2011
Headquarters 601 Horrya way, Zezenia, Alexandria
Newspaper The New Light
Ideology Salafi Islamism
Religious conservatism
Colors Azure, Red and White
Website
http://www.alnourparty.org/
Politics of Egypt
Political parties
Elections

The al‑Nour Party (Arabic: حزب النور‎, Ḥizb Al‑Nūr) ("Party of The Light") is one of the political parties created in Egypt after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. It has an ultra-conservative Islamist ideology, which believes in implementing strict Sharia law. It has been described as the political arm of the Salafi Call Society,[2] and "by far the most prominent" of the several new Salafi parties in Egypt,[3] which it has surpassed by virtue of its "long organizational and administrative experience" and "charismatic leaders".[2]

In the 2011–12 Egypt parliamentary elections, the Islamist Bloc led by Al‑Nour party received 7,534,266 votes out of a total 27,065,135 correct votes (27.8%). The Islamist Bloc, of which Al Nour was a member, gained 127 of the 498 parliamentary seats contested,[3] second-place after the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. Al‑Nour Party itself won 111 of the 127 seats.

From January 2013 the party gradually distanced itself from Mohammad Morsi's Brotherhood government, and came to join the opposition in the July 2013 coup which ousted Morsi.[4] A court ruling on the dissolution of the party is set for 18 October 2014.[5] A lawsuit against the party was dismissed on 22 September 2014 because the court indicated it had no jurisdiction.[6]

History[edit]

Al‑Nour was set up after the 2011 Egyptian revolution, when the interim military government allowed the formation of new parties. It was established by one of the largest Salafist groups in Egypt, the Salafist Call (Al-Da‘wa Al-Salafiyya), also known as the Al-Dawaa movement. (The Salafi philosophical movement has been associated with literalist, strict and puritanical approaches to Islam.)[7] The Salafi Call group started began the 1970s and was firmly established in the 1980s in Alexandria University after students refused to join the Muslim Brotherhood, leading to clashes that impelled the Salafis to institutionalize their activities within the city.[8]

The Salafis in the past had refused to take part in politics because they believed that the democratic system that existed at the time was un-Islamic, though they were concerned with politics from an Islamic point of view relating to daily Egyptian life. During the revolution, they did not support the uprising because "the Americans would have ordered Mubarak to massacre them all", according to a party spokesman.[8]

After the revolution, the Salafis decided to take part in politics in order to protect the Islamic identity of Egypt, based on the fundamentals of Islam, the Quran and Sunnah. Leading Salafi preacher Yasser Al Borhamy switched to the political participation side after Mubarak's ouster, saying "Islam must become involved of all aspects of life, even the political, and the Islamic movement must unite".[9]

Al‑Nour was recognised as an official party after it had obtained its license in June 2011, led by Emad Abdel Ghaffour.[10] However, in September 2012, Ghaffour was suspended from the party, and elections for a new party leader were expected soon after.[11] He was reinstated as the head of the party following a 10 hour meeting by the party in early October 2012.[12] Ghaffour resigned as party chairman on 29 December 2012 and in January 2013 formed the rival Watan Party.[13]

Political orientation[edit]

Abdel Moneim El Shahat, one of the leaders of the Al‑Nour Party

Al‑Nour Party is an ultra-conservative Islamist party maintaining a strict version of Islam, known as the Salafi methodology. Salafis believe in practising Islam as it was practiced by the Prophet Muhammad, his companions, and the later generations. Their main source of governance is strictly based on the Quran and the Sunnah.[14][third-party source needed]

Religion[edit]

The religious foundation and structure of Al-Nour party is based almost entirely on the Salafi interpretation of Islam.[15]

Al-Nour believes the principles of Islamic Sharia should be the main source of legislation. However, the party promises that it will allow Christians to have their own separate laws for their internal matters.[16][third-party source needed]

Israeli–Palestinian conflict[edit]

The party has stated it is committed to the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty as a binding international agreement and would be willing to hold negotiations with Israel.[17]

At the same time, Al‑Nour said it seeks amendments to the agreement and opposes normalization with Israel. Specifically, an Al‑Nour spokesman stated, "We call for full Sinai rights for Egypt and for our brothers in Palestine and occupied lands, and we see this as directly related to the agreement."[18] Regarding normalization, an Al‑Nour statement read, "The party strongly objects normalization and dialogue attempts and establishing relations with an entity [Israel] which wants to wipe off our identity, occupies our lands, imposes a siege on our brothers and strongly supports our hangers."[19]

Perspective on loans[edit]

Al‑Nour Party had stated in September 2012 that it would not oppose a loan from the International Monetary Fund to the Egyptian government, although Islamic law bans the paying of interest. The party argued that the loan is vital to Egypt's economy in the current period and that there is no other alternative, citing the Islamic saying "Necessities permit what is banned".[20]

However, the party had changed opinion in February 2013, saying the IMF loan agreement requires an approval from a body of senior scholars at Al-Azhar University.[21]

The party's members suggested other alternatives to foreign borrowing such as reforming subsidy system, dispensing with highly paid advisers and offering Sukuk (financial certificates) that Islamic financing experts claim will attract billions of pounds to the country.[22]

Civil unrest[edit]

There was violence that killed 10 people in late November 2012; Yousry Hammad, the official spokesman of the Al‑Nour Salafi Muslim political party, said he thinks that the violence could affect election plans.[23]

Election results[edit]

The Salafi Al‑Nour reportedly did well in the election in part because of loyalty it won from voters with the many Salafi-sponsored charitable activities: help for the sick and the poor; financial assistance to widows, divorcées, and young women in need of marriage trousseaus; and abundant religious instruction.[24]

2012 presidential election[edit]

Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, who while not officially affiliated with the party was considered to be the candidate of the Salafi movement, was disqualified to run in the 2012 presidential election. Without any clear Salafi candidate, the Nour Party settled on moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh on 28 April 2012.[25] However, the party declared its support for Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Morsi in the second and final election round between Morsi and Ahmed Shafeek, the last prime minister appointed by Mubarak.[26]

2012–2013 Egyptian protests[edit]

Although initially a political ally of the MB's Freedom and Justice Party, the al-Nour Party soon came to join the mainly secular opposition, and were an active force in the 2012–13 Egyptian protests that resulted in the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état and consequent ouster of President Morsi.[4]

Following what Al-Nour described as a "massacre" on the dawn of 8 July, when pro-Morsi demonstrators were attacked and at least 54 were left dead,[27] Al-Nour in protest withdrew from talks to choose an interim prime minister.[28] Nevertheless al-Nour has not expressed support for the return of Mohammad Morsi to power.[28] The party has advised the interim government on ministerial candidates.[29] The Nour Party has supported the draft constitution that will be voted on in the 2014 constitutional referendum.[30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "UPDATED: Egypt's Salafist Nour Party elects new leader". Ahram Online. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Omar Ashour (6 January 2012). "The unexpected rise of Salafists has complicated Egyptian politics". The Daily Star. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Jonathan Brown (20 December 2011). "Salafis and Sufis in Egypt". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Patrick Kingsley (7 July 2013). "Egypt's Salafist al-Nour party wields new influence on post-Morsi coalition | World news". theguardian.com. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "FJP trial adjourned to August 4". Cairo Post. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Egypt court says it has no power to dissolve Nour Party". Ahram Online. 22 September 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Dr Abdul-Haqq Baker, Extremists in Our Midst: Confronting Terror, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011
  8. ^ a b Al-Nour Party Jadaliyya. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Jadaliyya.com". Jadaliyya. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Al‑Nour Party Islamopedia online.
  11. ^ "Salafist Nour Party head expelled by party's supreme committee". Ahram Online. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  12. ^ "Egypt's Salafist Nour Party resolves leadership crisis: Spokesperson". Ahram Online. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Nour’s Salafist splinter group forms new party, Ahram Online, 1 January 2012, retrieved 19 December 2013 
  14. ^ "Party FAQ". 
  15. ^ "The rise of intolerant Salafists in Egypt". CNN. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "Party Program". Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  17. ^ Ismail, Farrag (20 December 2011). "Egyptian Salafi party ready to sit with Israel, says spokesman". Al-Arabiya. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  18. ^ Aya Batrawy (22 December 2011). "Islamist says party committed to treaty with Israel". Associated Press. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  19. ^ Roi Kais (24 December 2011). "Egypt's Islamists seek changes to Israel peace treaty". YnetNews. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  20. ^ "Egyptian Salafi party shows flexibility on IMF loan". Reuters. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  21. ^ "Egypt Islamists say clerics must approve IMF loan". Reuters. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  22. ^ "Al Nour Party Suggests Five Alternatives To Foreign Borrowing". Amwal Al Ghad. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  23. ^ "Egypt protesters flee security in Tahrir Square; elections to go on". CNN. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  24. ^ "Ultraconservative Islamist Party Reshapes Egypt's Politics". Daily Beast. 8 December 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  25. ^ Al-Masry Al-Youm (27 April 2012). "Nour Party endorses Abouel Fotouh for President". Al-masry Al-youm. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  26. ^ Al-Masry Al-Youm (29 May 2012). "Egypt will choose Morsi or Shafiq". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  27. ^ "At least 54 killed in clashes at Cairo Republican Guard headquarters". Fox News. 2013-07-08. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  28. ^ a b Ahmed Maher (2013-07-08). "Egypt unrest: Tensions soar amid Cairo killings". BBC News. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  29. ^ "El-Beblawi continues to meet ministerial candidates". Daily News Egypt. 15 July 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  30. ^ "Nour says will back Egypt draft constitution". Al Jazeera English. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 

External links[edit]