Govt makes remarkable presence in Brotherhood iftar

Three ministers attended a Ramadan iftar organized on Saturday by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest Islamist political group.

The breaking-the-fast meal, hosted by InterContinental City Stars hotel in Nasr City, Cairo, is the group's first public iftar in five years. The regime of former President Hosni Mubarak prevented the group from holding the annual event publicly.

Press reports said the feast cost nearly LE1 million, raised through a number of the Brotherhood's prominent businessmen. The Brotherhood's last public iftar was held in 2006, costing nearly LE400,000, according to press reports.

This year attendees included Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Selmy, Minister of Information Osama Heikal and Minister of Islamic Emdowments Mohamed Abdel Fadil al-Qousy. The feast was also attended by Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, the chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), Yusuf al-Qaradawi, as well as representatives from the Coptic Orthdox Church and partisan and political figures.

None of Egypt's presidential hopefuls attended the event.

"This year, Ramadan comes with freedom, dignity, and justice," Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie told guests.

Badie invited Egyptians to leave aside political and ideological differences and to unite behind common causes.

Selmy said the attendance stressed national unity and the need to work for a civil state in which the rule of law prevails.

Meanwhile, Egypt's Grand Mufti, Ali Gomaa, urged Egyptians to join efforts to "build a new Egypt."

Wafd Party chairman, Sayyed al-Badawy, who spoke on behalf of partisan attendants, said "Egyptians have managed to oust the Pharaoh, and the next period requires unity and accord. There is no party that can single-handedly assume responsibility for the next five years."

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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