Presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abu El Fatouh was invited for a lecture at the College De Sainte Famille “CSF” aka The Jesuit Downtown Cairo tonight by the Catholic patriarchs and priests association and “The Justice and Peace organization” which also follows the Catholic church. It was an open invitation for everybody and I attended it.
The lecture was moderated by journalist Youssef Ramez who did an amazing job.Abu El Fatouh came along some of the member of his campaign including his political advisor and AUC political sciences professor Rabab El Madi. El Mahdi is a famous Marxist and even Father William hinted out to this fact as it was a sign on how Abu El Fatouh was open to others despite his Islamist background.
Most of the attendants were Christians including a considerable number of nuns “including a dear old foreign nun I once met in a Spanish course from several years ago” who went to listen and to ask the famous Islamist candidate who was Many of the attendants from were also graduates of the Jesuit as well , there couple of young students who came and attended the lecture. There were several Egyptian TV channels recording the lecture along two foreign TV channels.
The lecture started with a moment for silence for Egypt’s martyrs and late Pope Shenouda. Father William of Catholic Church then spoke to introduce Abu El Fatouh then journalist Youssef Ramez introduced him once again. Abu El Fatouh spoke about him and his program , about citizenship and unity between Muslims and Christians. “It was clever to stress about this point especially he is an Islamist candidate in a Catholic School”’ He slammed those who spoke about Christians and women as second degree citizens , there was no need to guess whom he meant.
Abu El Fatouh will officially present his PAs tomorrow to the HEPC at 9.30 AM and he will also announce his presidential program on the same day. He hinted out that there are two main projects in his program and they are related to education and health.
Abu El Fatouh wants a real better free educational system and thus he will not cancel free education but rather improves the whole system considering the scientific research as part of our national security
The second project Abu El Fatouh is planning to do if he is the president will be a full health insurance for all Egyptians. I think as a doctor specialized in hospitals administration , he can do something about it.
Then people began to send their questions and more than 14 questions were about his relation with the Muslim brotherhood “Including my question”. The answer was that there will be no privileges for the Muslim brotherhood and it will be like any other political group in the country if he becomes a president. People applauded that answer. Abu El Fatouh did not speak much about the brotherhood except that he said that he knew that he had to leave to the brotherhood when he intended to run for the post.
He was asked about building churched and He answered that the president should not interfere in building churches or mosques , already there is no need for mosques and churches in the country as we need more hospitals and schools blaming Mubarak’s regime of creating the sectarian tensions in the country.
He defended his quote that Egypt is an Islamic country saying that he was saying this to those who want Egypt to become Islamic country in reference to the Salafists. “Egypt had become an Islamic country from 14 centuries ago !!” He said. He also defended his quote that there is nothing called 100% secular country saying that there is a semi-secular country only.
There was also this debate about the concept of civilian state which Rabab El Mahdi backed up him where they insisted that the civilian state is against the military state.
Father William asked him about how to raise the awareness of the people especially with poverty and illiteracy and Abu El Fatouh had a good point saying that two phases ; one on the short run and the second is on the long run. On the short term will youth can go to their neighborhoods and villages to increase people’s awareness and on the long run the country should adopt the Cuban experience in fighting illiteracy. “He revealed that he met with the Cuban ambassador , already Abu El Fatouh is from the few presidential candidates that met many foreign ambassadors in Cairo in those few months”
He believes in Social justice more than Hazem Salah Abu Ismail who does not believe in free education or progressive taxation,no wonder Rabab El Mahdi believes in his project.
Now to be honest I did not like how Abu El Fatouh defended the majority in the parliament and accused the media of portraying them as idiots , well unfortunately so far they proved to be idiots. He also said that we should not worried from the upcoming constitution because the Egyptian people will not let anyone to mess up with their constitution. An old man from the audience reminded him with the constitution referendum and what happened in it.
The last question Abu El Fatouh answered was a question from Southern Sudanese professor about the future of Egypt
“The separation of South Sudan is another crime done by Mubarak regime yet the South Sudan problem was since 1950s and the military regime that used religion made it worse.I was always against the rule of El Bashir in Sudan “ Abu El Fatouh answered adding that he believes that Egypt and the Arab world should start a new page with South Sudan as well Africa.
Ironically the man who made a name for himself in 1975 after his debate with Sadat did not like how couple of young men suddenly interpreted him in an attacking way to ask him about his views regarding Islamic Sharia and the right to build Churches.
While leaving I listened to couple of reactions especially from Christians and they were concerned because of the Muslim brotherhood background yet all reactions agreed that he is from the best presidential candidates.
Here is part of the lecture I broadcasted for couple of minutes on bambuser.
By the way I record nearly 40 minutes of the meeting in the audio as well several video clips , I will upload them in few hours.