Egypt's Islamic Parties Wary of Welcoming Tourists Despite Need for Economic Growth

In the wake of Egypt's parliamentary elections, leading Islamic parties have revealed their plans for tourism, a market which Egypt heavily relies on for economic stability, at the same expressing wariness over the potentially "sinful" atmosphere foreigners might create.

"Let’s encourage tourism," was the title of the Muslim Brotherhood’s campaign event, held Sunday near Egypt’s legendary Pyramids in Cairo.

Muslim Brotherhood candidate Azza al-Jarf told the large crowd Sunday that under Islamic rule, tourists would be banned from drinking alcohol.

"They came to see the ancient civilization, not to drink alcohol," she said, according to The Associated Press.

The Islamic-centered Muslim Brotherhood political party dominated Egypt’s first round of parliamentary elections last week, gaining roughly 45 percent of the seats in parliament.

Many fear that if the Muslim Brotherhood is elected, it will impose strict rules fueled by Islam, and legal issues will rely on observation of Shariah Law.

The Brotherhood has publicly insisted that it will not enforce its Muslim beliefs on the Egyptian population, but Sunday’s speech makes critics weary.

Organizations such as the National Association for Change have openly urged the Muslim Brotherhood to guarantee its promised observation of a secular government.

Aside from social concerns, the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan for conservative tourism also poses concern for Egypt’s economic stability. Since the Arab Spring uprisings of February and the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has been in great need of a stable economic flow and an increase in the tourist market.

The Islamic fundamentalist Salafi Al-Nour party, which came in second in the first round of parliamentary elections, has also shared its concern for tourists who may "harm [Egypt’s] youth" with bikini-clad women strutting on the beach.

"A five-star hotel with no alcohol, a beach for women – sisters – separated from men in a bay where the two sides can enjoy a vacation for a week without sins," cleric Yasser Bourhami of the Salafi party told private television network Dream TV. "The tourist doesn't have to swim with a bikini and harm our youth."

Egypt’s Islamic parties are again expected to dominate the second round of parliamentary elections, which being Wednesday.

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