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CAIRO — The men gathering outside the yellow mosque agreed: Adulterers should be stoned to death, the hands of thieves cut off.

"But not now," said Kareem Atta, waiting in a cool breeze for the sheik's car to roll up next to the Koran sellers. "Sharia law must be gradually put into place so it doesn't shock the system. You can't cut people's hands off if you first don't give them financial justice."

The young students, engineers and laborers are followers of Hazem Salah abu Ismail, a lawyer and holy man whose poetic blend of populism and ultraconservative Salafi Islam has turned him into a leading presidential candidate. Posters with Ismail's gray beard and boyish face seem to hang on every street and alley across this ancient city.

Ismail is at once provocative and soothing, in a breath switching from genial to fiery. He has suggested revoking Egypt'speace treaty with Israel and holds up Iran as an exemplar of defiance against the U.S. His hard-line rhetoric has nudged American officials closer to the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood, a sign of Washington's scrambling to keep pace with the tremors of the "Arab Spring."

"I will never become a puppet for the U.S. or Israel or any Western power," Ismail said in a recent speech. He added that the U.S. was funneling money to certain Egyptian candidates to "suit their interests" and he urged young Muslims to "spoil such a plot."

Ismail's candidacy, however, may be in jeopardy over an embarrassing link to America. His mother, Nawal Abdel Aziz Nour, who lived with his sister in the Los Angeles area, became a U.S. citizen before she died, according to California public records. That would make him ineligible to run. Ismail claims his mother held only a green card, not a U.S. passport. The election commission, which confirmed that Ismail's mother held an American passport, is expected to decide on whether to disqualify him in coming days.

Ismail's is a robust voice in the fractious political Islam that is spreading across an Egypt freed from three decades of Hosni Mubarak's secular rule. The movement's passions and designs on power are shaking leftists and non-Muslims but also altering the dynamics for Islamists and challenging the dominance of the Brotherhood.

That was evident last week when the Brotherhood, which controls parliament and had promised not to put forward a presidential candidate, broke its pledge and nominated Khairat Shater, a multimillionaire and longtime political prisoner who instantly became a front-runner. Shater represents the middle ground for Islamists, book-ended by Ismail's sharper conservatism and the liberal Islam of Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a former Brotherhood member.

Ismail and his competitors embody a new Egypt searching for a religiously resonant yet pragmatic brand of politics that can fix the nation's deep economic and social problems. Similar scenarios are enveloping rising Islamists in Tunisia, Libya and Yemen and will certainly factor in Syria if President Bashar Assad falls.

The son of a late prominent religious scholar, Ismail represented Egyptians, including his opponent Shater, in civil rights cases against the Mubarak government. He embraced last year's revolution before many other Islamists and has been a forceful critic of the ruling military council.

He's a favorite on talk shows and Internet videos, a charismatic speaker who can charm a university crowd as easily as he can raise cheers from millworkers in the provinces. He skims the edge of fundamentalism — he once suggested that he and Osama bin Laden shared the same ends, if not the means, to create an Islamic state — but connects with Egyptians' everyday worries.

"We live in dignity," is his slogan, which highlighted his recent call for Egyptians to each donate 72 pounds ($12) so the country could free itself of American influence by rejecting $1.3 billion in annualU.S. militaryaid.

Such prescriptions may not be widely popular in a country where more than 40% of the population is poor, but they encapsulate Egyptians' rising sense of pride. They also strike at a defiance toward the West that Ismail believes should encompass everyone from politicians to militants. He has said of Bin Laden: May God "be pleased with him and be merciful on him. I hope that God will accept him among believers, martyrs and righteous."

Ismail believes women should be veiled and segregated from men in the workplace. Egypt's lone female presidential candidate, Bothaina Kamel, recently referred to him as a "phenomenon similar to a sci-fi movie." But she added she would support Ismail ahead of secular presidential front-runner Amr Moussa, whom many regard as a throwback to the old regime.

Ismail's recurring message of the power of Islam to transform society was evident outside the Assad bin Forat mosque in Cairo, where he has preached for years. It is his wellspring and sanctuary and, now, an unofficial campaign office of pious men rushing with posters, T-shirts and signature sheets.

"I'm doing this for the sake of God so that we can have sharia law in Egypt," said Yasser Adel, a campaign volunteer. "We need someone with clean hands who knows his religion well and is not corrupt. We should gradually have an Islamic state like in Saudi Arabia, but this must come with respect for all minorities."

Such sentiment alarms women, liberals and non-Muslims anxious over Islamists' control of the legislature and a panel drafting a new constitution. But devotion guides many Egyptians who for years steeled themselves with religion against the state injustices.

The young at the mosque were excited, even surprised, that they could gather without fear of arrest. Theirs was a focused energy not only on their candidate but the prospect of what his election could mean to an Arab world in disarray.

"Egypt is the heart of the Islamic world and if Egypt rises religiously, the whole Muslim world will rise," said Ahmed Fathy, dressed in a pinstriped suit and holding the hand of his daughter. "Sharia means an end to poverty and the corruption that have left this country struggling."

As Fathy spoke, trucks and minivans bearing Ismail's image loaded placards and campaign literature and drove off into the night.

[email protected]

Amro Hassan in The Times' Cairo bureau contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times
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I am a Muslim, but I am also a liberal. A part of me wonders whether it is a good thing Abu Ismail is being disqualified this way. There is obviously a significant part of the Egyptian population that likes him and his views. It's important that the process accommodates everybody so that feelings of resentment are kept to a minimum.

I am really hoping Egypt turns out more like Turkey/Malaysia and less like Saudi Arabia or Iran.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am a Muslim, but I am also a liberal. A part of me wonders whether it is a good thing Abu Ismail is being disqualified this way. There is obviously a significant part of the Egyptian population that likes him and his views. It's important that the process accommodates everybody so that feelings of resentment are kept to a minimum.

I am really hoping Egypt turns out more like Turkey/Malaysia and less like Saudi Arabia or Iran.


The law is the law... and changing it to suit certain candidates should be behind us now.
 

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The law is the law... and changing it to suit certain candidates should be behind us now.
Agreed. The problem right now is "The Law" (constitution) still has not been written, so we are making it up as we go along. The more I think about it the more I believe AlBaradei did a very smart thing by pullling out of the whole election fiasco. Give them rope...
 

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Agreed. The problem right now is "The Law" (constitution) still has not been written, so we are making it up as we go along. The more I think about it the more I believe AlBaradei did a very smart thing by pullling out of the whole election fiasco. Give them rope...

And America gave them that rope.. they knew right from the start who his mother is and that she held an American passport, they kept quiet until they thought the time was right to leak the information. More manipulation from the west.
 

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And America gave them that rope.. they knew right from the start who his mother is and that she held an American passport, they kept quiet until they thought the time was right to leak the information. More manipulation from the west.
I said it before, I would like to see some hard evidence of his mother's US nationality. I dislike him and his ideology, I'm happy he's no longer in the race, but I have many doubts about the whole process.
 

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..........
I am really hoping Egypt turns out more like Turkey/Malaysia and less like Saudi Arabia or Iran.
Don't think the Parliament in either Turkey or Malaysia tends to worry about banning porns and English classes while +70% of the population can't find fuel, gas, and plenty others can't even afford buying food.......:ranger:

So it seems like the chances for Egypt to turn out to be more like Turkey or Malaysia are pretty slim :mad:
 

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And America gave them that rope.. they knew right from the start who his mother is and that she held an American passport, they kept quiet until they thought the time was right to leak the information. More manipulation from the west.
The guy simply LIED about the whole thing, he even turned the whole thing into a joke when people started mentioning that he's got an American sister and said "One day they'll say that I got a foriegn sister and maybe she'll be French"! And now whenever he's interviewed, he keeps going around it, but never actually denies the fact that his mom is an American, all he says is that the documents provided aren't enough to prove anything and that it's an American conspiracy :eek: And now his idiotic poor naive supporters are willing to protest, sit in, and even start a WAR for him, and he won't come out to deny it on public, or tell them to go home!

The Yanks only responded to the Egyptian official's requests to provide information, and those idiots still blame them for "ruining the Islamic candidate's campaign"! So what you think would happen if the Americans just stepped forward and gave the documents away to the public without any official requests?

Personally speaking? I really can't see anything that "The West" did wrong in this situation, apart from actually allowing such low lives into The States AND granting them citizenship :ranger:
 
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The law is the law... and changing it to suit certain candidates should be behind us now.
I completely agree, we should not be changing laws to suit certain candidates. Just to make it clear, I would not have been voting for Abu Ismail as I don't agree with any of the salafi ideology. I do not agree at all with the mixing of politics and religion.

But, I think it is important that the salafis get their favored candidate in the race. If he wins, then at least it is clear where the future of Egypt is headed. If he loses by a considerable margin, they may adjust their policies. Personally, I think his chances of winning are very slim.

Disqualifying him on technicalities would probably just lead to the salafis feeling as though they are not being given a fair chance. I suppose they should have nominated a backup candidate like the MB did.

I think most Egyptians would agree that this nationality law is a good one, so it should stand. I would have preferred a clean slate (Egyptian citizens, except for people with serious crimes on their record, and any lead NDP members), but everything is kind of being patched together right now I suppose.

I agree with aykalam though, the process needs to be shown as fair, and the evidence has to be rock solid and it has to be made public.
 

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I said it before, I would like to see some hard evidence of his mother's US nationality. I dislike him and his ideology, I'm happy he's no longer in the race, but I have many doubts about the whole process.
Don't really get the hard evidence bit in here? There are documents, official ones? :confused2:

For me him going around it and not being able to deny it and questioning the document's credibility instead, and his AMERICAN sister not denying it either is good enough to prove him a liar really.........:ranger:
 

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Don't really get the hard evidence bit in here? There are documents, official ones? :confused2:

For me him going around it and not being able to deny it and questioning the document's credibility instead, and his AMERICAN sister not denying it either is good enough to prove him a liar really.........:ranger:
I don't think anyone here believes there is a conspiracy against him, but people on the street may think differently. An official document repeatedly shown on TV and maybe even available for some limited public viewing should be enough to convince most people.

Of course, you still have some in the U.S. that think Obama was not born in Hawaii, so you never know... at least some hard evidence will convince most of the doubters.
 

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Don't really get the hard evidence bit in here? There are documents, official ones? :confused2:

For me him going around it and not being able to deny it and questioning the document's credibility instead, and his AMERICAN sister not denying it either is good enough to prove him a liar really.........:ranger:
Documents (including passports) are extremely easy to forge. In my "previous" life I dealt with ID docs on a daily basis, some fakes are amazingly good. Plus the onus should never be on him to prove his eligibility but on the prosecution to prove that he is not eligible to run in the presidential elections. So what would constitute "real" evidence? That's up to the accusers to figure out, of course. e.g. it would be fun if her U.S. naturalization ceremony had been video-ed :eyebrows:
 

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Documents (including passports) are extremely easy to forge. In my "previous" life I dealt with ID docs on a daily basis, some fakes are amazingly good. Plus the onus should never be on him to prove his eligibility but on the prosecution to prove that he is not eligible to run in the presidential elections. So what would constitute "real" evidence? That's up to the accusers to figure out, of course. e.g. it would be fun if her U.S. naturalization ceremony had been video-ed :eyebrows:
:eek:

I'm kinda shocked to be reading this from a non Egyptian really :confused2:

The documents can be easily forged that's for sure, but we're talking about documents that are exchanged via official diplomatic channels in here, it's not like an anonymous source gave the documents to a TV producer or something, and I think that would be a form of a SOLID evidence :ranger:

He ONLY claimed his eligibility, but he never "proved" it, the only thing he did was questioning the documents' credibility and claiming that he's being framed, first by the committee, then by the committee AND the SCAF, and then America was added, and his last try when the committee showed the documents to some lame ar$e Salafi Sheikhs, he added those Salafi Sheikhs to the conspiracy! :eek:

The guy is full of both contradictions, and sh!t! And now he told his naive supporters to start a sit in! And they're actually going for it :frusty:
 

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I don't think anyone here believes there is a conspiracy against him, but people on the street may think differently. An official document repeatedly shown on TV and maybe even available for some limited public viewing should be enough to convince most people.

Of course, you still have some in the U.S. that think Obama was not born in Hawaii, so you never know... at least some hard evidence will convince most of the doubters.
An official document, but American or Egyptian? Cause the idiot's arguing that American documents are only good in America.......


Documents shown repeatedly on TV doesn't make them less/more authentic........


And how do you suggest this limited public viewing process to be like? Everyone will wanna look.............Besides.........Call me a racist, an ar$e, whatever you wanna call me, but sorry to say this, most of his supporters can't even read Arabic........Mind you English..........So I don't think it would make any difference :ranger:

Let's keep things within reason please.......:alien:
 

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I don't think anyone here believes there is a conspiracy against him, but people on the street may think differently. An official document repeatedly shown on TV and maybe even available for some limited public viewing should be enough to convince most people.

Of course, you still have some in the U.S. that think Obama was not born in Hawaii, so you never know... at least some hard evidence will convince most of the doubters.
I'll be damned :D

There you go Çáíæã ÇáÓÇÈÚ | ääÝÑÏ ÈäÔÑ ÇáãÓÊäÏÇÊ ÇáÑÓãíÉ ÇáÊì ÃÞÕÊ "ÃÈæ ÅÓãÇÚíá" Úä ÇáÑÆÇÓÉ

And it's on live TV right now too :ranger:

Let's see if he had enough, or he still wanna embarrass himself a bit more! Cause so far the guy showed nothing but pure stupidity, and a fake beard!
 

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I'll be damned :D

There you go Çáíæã ÇáÓÇÈÚ | ääÝÑÏ ÈäÔÑ ÇáãÓÊäÏÇÊ ÇáÑÓãíÉ ÇáÊì ÃÞÕÊ "ÃÈæ ÅÓãÇÚíá" Úä ÇáÑÆÇÓÉ

And it's on live TV right now too :ranger:

Let's see if he had enough, or he still wanna embarrass himself a bit more! Cause so far the guy showed nothing but pure stupidity, and a fake beard!
Bloody Hell!!!!!!!! Some of the comments are supporting the conspiracy theory still!

Basing on the picture of the applicant in the documents, her hair is not covered! Which means it's not his mum :frusty: :frusty: :frusty:
 
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