Egypt ex-jihadi: opposition used violence

CAIRO (AP) — The leader of a former jihadist group who is now a member of Egyptian parliament accused the largely secular opposition on Monday of using violence in the country’s political struggle.

Another member of the same group, who served 29 years in prison for his role as a conspirator in the 1981 assassination of President Sadat, charged that opponents of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi are trying to drag the country into a civil war.

The two — Safwat Abdel-Ghani and Tarek el-Zumor — are members of the Islamic Group, or Gamaa Islamiya, which was among militant groups behind one of the longest waves of violence against the Egyptian regime in the 1980s and 1990s. The group renounced violence while most of its leaders were imprisoned under Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

Since Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011 following a popular uprising, the group has formed an Islamist political party and its leaders have become important players in the new political scene, dominated by Islamists.

The accusations come amid a highly charged atmosphere in Egypt after a polarizing, monthlong fight over the Islamist-drafted constitution. The charter passed with 64 percent in a referendum, according to unofficial results.


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