News / Africa

    Hardliners Join Calls for Morsi-appointed Luxor Governor to Quit

    Protesters, armed with sticks, gather in front of the Luxor governorate building to protest the appointment of Adel Mohamed al-Khayat as governor, Luxor, June 19, 2013.Protesters, armed with sticks, gather in front of the Luxor governorate building to protest the appointment of Adel Mohamed al-Khayat as governor, Luxor, June 19, 2013.
    x
    Protesters, armed with sticks, gather in front of the Luxor governorate building to protest the appointment of Adel Mohamed al-Khayat as governor, Luxor, June 19, 2013.
    Protesters, armed with sticks, gather in front of the Luxor governorate building to protest the appointment of Adel Mohamed al-Khayat as governor, Luxor, June 19, 2013.
    Reuters
    A hardline Islamist group called on Saturday on one of its members to resign as governor of Luxor “for the sake of Egypt” despite President Mohamed Morsi defending the appointment.
     
    Morsi infuriated many Egyptians this week by swearing in al-Gamaa al-Islamiya's Adel Mohamed al-Khayat as governor of the town where members of the group massacred 58 tourists at a pharaonic temple in 1997.
     
    Some members of Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya were also charged with killing president Anwar Sadat in 1981, along with other politicians and police in the 1980s and 90s. The group renounced violence and condemned al-Qaida in ideological U-turns a decade ago.
     
    Many of its members were jailed for decades under former president Hosni Mubarak but Morsi freed them last year shortly after his election following Mubarak's ouster by an uprising in 2011, with many moving into public life.
     
    Governor was a suspect, acquitted

    In an interview with the state-owned newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm published on Saturday, Morsi said: "There has never been a court ruling against the Luxor governor who was never condemned in the Luxor incident but was a suspect in the assassination of Sadat and was acquitted."
     
    The hiring of Luxor governor showed that Morsi, who hails from the relatively moderate Muslim Brotherhood group, is openly reaching out for a political alliance with the more radical and former militant group ahead of a big wave of opposition-led protests expected to start on June 30.
     
    However, just hours after the paper carried the interview on its front page and three inside pages, Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya's political wing called on the new governor to resign.
     
    "We are not after any post," the group's leader, Safwat Abdel Ghani told a news conference, adding he expected Khayat to officially announce his resignation on Saturday night. "We asked the new governor to resign for the sake of Egypt."
     
    The group may be trying to find a way out of the impasse before the opposition protests by showing it understands the needs of the country and taking the pressure off Morsi. Tourism is one of the mainstays of Egypt's economy, but has suffered badly in two years of unrest.
     
    Morsi said al-Gamaa al-Islamiya's newly founded Construction and Development Party “works in the framework of a civil state and the governor was picked after he was seen as better than all other candidates.”
     
    Rival Rallies
     
    Morsi also appointed many members of his Brotherhood as governors, triggering protests in many cities that prevented the appointees from entering their offices.
     
    The president denied the tourism minister had resigned over the Luxor appointment, although a source in the ministry said the minister has stopped going to his office since Khayat was named.
     
    Thousands of protesters from al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists' groups staged a big rally on Friday for Morsi and warned opponents, whom they described as atheists, agents for Western states and anti-Islam, that they would crush them if they forced Morsi out.
     
    The opposition called it an attempt to “terrorize” them before mass rallies they plan to hold in just over a week's time.
     
    Echoing the same language as al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei called on Morsi to resign.
     
    “The regime has to understand that time has come for change.... For the sake of Egypt, many Egyptians had elected Morsi and for Egypt I ask President Mohamed Morsi to resign and to leave for a new stage to begin,” he told an opposition rally.
     
    The June 30 rally is planned by a group of young independent Egyptians called Tamarod (Rebellion), which says it has gathered more than 15 million signatures in a month from people among the 84 million population wanting Morsi to quit.
     
    Both the youth movement and established opposition leaders are demanding an early presidential vote after what they describe as Morsi's failure to live up to any of his promises of more freedoms and better living and economic conditions.
     
    But Morsi's allies say he needs more time than one year in office to tackle Egypt's deep economic and political problems. In a previous interview, Morsi described the call for an early presidential vote as “absurd and illegitimate.”
     
    In Saturday's interview, Morsi said the call for the June 30 protests “reflects an atmosphere of freedoms granted by the January (2011) revolution,” but said that any expression of opinion has to be done peacefully and that the government was ready to face violence from any side with all measures.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.