CAIRO - Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq stepped up his attacks against his Muslim Brotherhood rival in a run-off vote, saying on Sunday the Islamist would drag Egypt into the "dark ages" and threaten the rights of women, Christians and others.
"I represent a civil state, the Brotherhood represents a sectarian Brotherhood state. I represent moving forward, they represent going backwards," Shafiq said.
Sunday's statement appeared mainly to play on the fears of liberals, Christians (who make up a tenth of Egypt's 82 million people) and women. "Women of Egypt, I will not permit that the powers of extremism take you back to the dark ages," he said.
Shafiq, 70, who delivered his statement in a five-star hotel on Cairo's outskirts where there was a strong police presence, said the Brotherhood were "liars" and wanted to "penetrate" all institutions to create a state in line with their views.