Egyptian Islamist group eyes politics

May 24, 2011 16:02

CAIRO - An Egyptian Islamist group that took up arms against the state in the 1980s and 1990s wants to form a political party and contest the country's first free elections in decades, one of its senior members said on Tuesday.

Gama'a al-Islamiya was outlawed under former President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in February in a popular uprising after three decades in power.

Since then, the movement's leadership has begun preaching non-violent means to reach its goal of an Islamic state.

A senior member of Gama'a al-Islamiya, Tarek al-Zumar, said the group was launching plans for a "civil political party based on Islamic principles" that would even welcome members of Egypt's Christian minority.

"The party will not use violence in dealing with any situation or with the state and will abide by Egyptian law and the constitution," said Zumar, who expects to be a member of the party's policy unit.

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