Nobel laureate hails Islamist success in Egypt

Nobel laureate hails Islamist success in Egypt

 Egyptian writer and Nobel Prize for literature laureate Naguib Mahfouz has welcomed the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in his homeland where they secured 20 percent of parliament in recent elections.

“Exclusion breeds fanaticism, whereas inclusion encourages give and take,” he was quoted as saying in state-owned newspapers on Friday.

“It is better to have the religiously minded in parliament than underground. Once in parliament, political Islamists will have to bring their policies into the public domain,” said Mahfouz, who turns 94 on Sunday.

The Muslim Brothers are still an officially banned organisation but they were allowed to field independents running under their banner, securing 88 of parliament’s 454 seats in polls that wound up on Wednesday.

Some secular and Christian observers have voiced fears of an Islamisation of Egyptian society if the Brotherhood was to gain further influence.

The movement, founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, spawned many organisations in the region but has since renounced violence and advocates a moderate brand of Islam. Mahfouz was seriously wounded in a 1994 knife attack carried out by Egyptian Islamists.