Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt said the opposition group would work to promote democracy and does not intend to field a candidate for the presidency, CNN reported Wednesday.
“The Muslim Brotherhood are not seeking power,” a member of the group’s media office, Mohammed Morsi, said at a news conference. “We want to participate, not to dominate. We will not have a presidential candidate, we want to participate and help, we are not seeking power.”
“We reject the religious state,” Mohammed Katatny, former head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc, added. “We are not responsible of the speeches and statements of external forces. The regime have been using the Muslim Brotherhood scarecrow to tell the world that the regime is the only one who can safeguard the country, but this is wrong and it is their way to try to ignore the people’s demands.”
The Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups participated in official talks with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman last week.
Conservatives in the United States have warned that the pro-democracy uprising in Egypt could help the Muslim Brotherhood rise to power and embolden groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
On Tuesday, former House Speaker and Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich told CNN that the group “is a mortal enemy of our civilization.”
The group was removed from the US list of foreign terrorist organizations in the 1970s. Despite having officially renounced violence, many conservatives still consider the Muslim Brotherhood a danger to the United States and Israel.
“The problem we have is there are many elements in a popular revolt,” former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday. “Among them are extremists, like the Muslim Brotherhood. They tend to be not the largest, but the most extreme, the best organized, the best financed, and the most vicious.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration did not oppose the Muslim Brotherhood being included in dialogue with the embattled government so long as the group agreed to a peaceful.