That vision of turning Egypt into a sin-free vacation spot could spell doom for a key pillar of the economy that has already been badly battered by this year’s political unrest.
“Tourists don’t need to drink alcohol when they come to Egypt; they have plenty at home,” a veiled Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Azza al-Jarf, told a cheering crowd of supporters on Sunday across the street from the Pyramids.
“They came to see the ancient civilization, not to drink alcohol,” she said, her voice booming through a set of loudspeakers at a campaign event dubbed “Let’s encourage tourism.”
The crowd chanted, “Tourism will be at its best under Freedom and Justice,” the Brotherhood’s party and the most influential political group to emerge from the fall of Hosni Mubarak.
Since their success in the first round of parliamentary elections on November 28-29, the Brotherhood and the even more fundamentalist party of Salafi Muslims called Al-Nour have been under pressure from media and the public to define their stance on a wide range of issues, especially those related to Islamic law, personal freedoms, the rights of women and minorities, the flagging economy and tourism.
The Salafis of Al-Nour are up front about seeking to impose strict Islamic law in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood says publicly that it does not seek to force its views about an appropriate Islamic lifestyle on Egyptians.