Mostafa al-Feki, chairman of the People's Assembly's foreign affairs committee and ruling party stalwart, said the Egyptian public had begun to "turn its back" on Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood (MB) opposition movement, which he went on to describe as "the root of all evil."
"In 2005, the MB took the place of the government in providing public services," he said during a televised interview this week. "All the votes they obtained were punitive votes. No one wanted to vote for the ruling party, so they gave their votes to the MB."
"I've been following the group's ideology from the start," al-Feki added. "Their policies are inflexible and they have failed to evolve and to learn how to give and take. They are also incapable of working within a group."
"I was at Cairo University a couple of days ago and found myself feeling alienated," he said. "This was not the university I graduated from. The Egyptian character has completely changed due to several factors."
"The problem is with the mentality," he stressed. "The new trend in Egyptian society is very disturbing." He went on to say that religion was "pure like water " while politics was "polluted like oil." "And oil and water don't mix," he said.
Al-Feki asserted that religion was "deeply rooted" in the Egyptian mindset. He pointed out that Napoleon had found his way to Egypt through religion, and that, during the 1967 war with Israel, Egyptians believed they had been defeated because they had distanced themselves from God.
He went on to say that, after Egypt's victory in the 1973 war, a change occurred, as Egyptians began to believe that the solution was to turn to God. President Anwar Sadat had promoted this idea to rid himself of his enemies, al-Feki said, but hundreds of thousands of expatriates from Salafi countries had ended up coming to Egypt. Therefore, he said, Egypt represented the center of political Islam.
According to al-Feki, there has been a historical lack of confidence between the Egyptian public and the government, which has been reflected by the former's relationship with state institutions. Over the course of the past ten years, however, there has been some change, he added.
"We're approaching election time and the occurrence of violence is expected," he said. "There are expectations that may lead to disappointment, which may in turn result in violence–and the public has been granted a level of freedom that, once given, cannot be taken away."
Translated from the Arabic Edition.