(Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)
The Salafi al-Nour party may have come in second during the recent Egyptian elections, but they feel as though they have already won and are planning big changes for the country.
The Muslim Brotherhood actually won this round of elections, but the Nour party took 25 percent of the votes, giving them a noticeable presence in the new government. They intend on using any and all influence to bring the country back to its religious roots.
One of the biggest changes will be the implementation of Shariah law, which many commentators say would set the country’s progress toward democracy backwards.
Spokesman Yousseri Hamed told reporters: “The mechanism of democracy suits me, like elections and ballot boxes to choose my representative. The idea that the people make their own laws and decide what is prohibited and what is permitted, we reject that.”
Salafists rigorously adhere to the Quran and push for an extreme version of Shariah law not often seen in most other Islamic groups. According to reports: “Salafis follow a puritan school of Islam that was revived in Egypt in the 1970s by university students.”
It emerged in the political scene not long after President Mubarak was overthrown. Many political analysts fear that democracy may not proceed if Islamic parties win power. Others felt the elections would be overwhelming and Egyptians would vote for the party most known and familiar.
Mohammed Hussein told reporters he voted for the Nour party because “it is a party that loves religion.” But what exactly does that religion hold for the future of Egypt?
Salafi leaders have stated that they would push for a limit, or prohibition of alcohol. Women and men would be segregated in the workplace.
One report states that “as in Saudi Arabia, Salafis would want to bar women and Christians from executive posts.”
Right now the exact nature of a Salafi-influenced government remains unclear. The Muslim Brotherhood, in the lead, has described itself as more moderate and denounced any ties with the Nour party.
What does remain clear is that big changes are ahead for Egypt, and the whole world will be watching.