Egyptian Salafi candidate, currently being threatened with expulsion from the presidential race, denied reports that his mother was an American passport holder and attributed the allegations to a conspiracy aimed at getting him out of the way.
“I have not seen worse days. There is a conspiracy against me by the Salafis who refuse to support me and their supporters,” Abu Ismail told Al Arabiya. “What you hear in the media is one thing and what happens behind closed doors is something else.”
Abu Ismail, who described the campaign launched against him as a test from God, said he has never lied in his life and stressed that he is not after power.
“I decided to run for president because I want to implement reform.”
Abu Ismail called upon those who are tarnishing his image not to be blinded by greed and to look at what happened to the senior officials of the former regime.
“The former regime tarnished the image of opposition figure Ayman Nour when he ran for president in 2005, there are people trying to the same with me after the revolution.”
Regarding the controversy about his mother’s citizenship, Abu Ismail said that was fully aware that he could not sign the presidency papers unless he was sure he meets all the requirements.
“I am not that impulsive to risk my reputation in the society that trusts and supported my platform. It was my increasing popularity that led some people to try to destroy me.”
Abu Ismail said that the signs of a conspiracy started manifesting themselves when he submitted a request to the Higher Elections Committee asking for investigations to be conducted immediately concerning his mother’s citizenship in order for the truth to be known to the people and nothing was done.
“I was shocked to see the judge who heads the committee telling my supporters that no such request was submitted and that it is not yet time to look into complaints concerning the eligibility of presidential candidates.”
Abu Ismail warned all his adversaries and vowed not to allow anyone to undermine the success he has so far achieved no matter how much resisting that would cost him.
“If presidential elections are not fair or their results are manipulated, I will go to international courts if the Egyptian judiciary will not do me justice. The era of subjugation is over.”
Abu Ismail saw this conspiracy against him as an indication that the revolution has not yet achieved its goals.
“It saddens me to say that if this does not end, then the blood of the revolution’s martyrs have not yet managed to purify Egypt.”
Abu Ismail refuted allegations circulated in satellite channels about his mother being a registered voter in Los Angeles, California and which, if true, would mean that she was an American citizen.
“The websites from which those channels took the information are not accurate enough. Plus, there are websites that list the names of people who were residents of the United States whether they are citizens or not.”
The fact that his mother had a social security number, Ismail added, does not mean that she was a citizen.
“People who have a Green Card have to have a social security number and even those who don’t have a Green Card and live in the United States have a social security number.”
Abu Ismail noted that the website most media reports have been citing had reported several things wrong, like the name of his father.
“This website has the name Ahmed Nour in the husband’s name slot and everyone knows that my father is Sheikh Salah Abu Ismail. The website also said she was divorced from this Ahmed Nour.”
Abu Ismail said that even if his mother was married to this man before, his father’s name has to be listed too, which is not the case.
“There is also no video of my mother taking the oath, which is the regular procedure with anyone who gets the American citizenship.”
According to Abu Ismail, the main reason for this conspiracy is the nomination of the Muslim Brotherhood second-in-command Khairat al-Shater.
“I was asked to withdraw in favor of Shater and I was shocked because those who asked me are Salafis like me and I have never imagined they would want to me give up the work of a whole year. They could have just remained silent if they don’t want to declare their support for me.”
The nomination of Shater, Ismail pointed out, is the implementation of the consensus president plan which he has rejected from the very beginning.
“That is why I shall go ahead with my campaign and do my best to be up to the expectations of all the honorable citizens, whether Muslims or Christians, who put their trust in me.”
The Passports and Immigration Authority at the Egyptian Interior Ministry had announced earlier that Abu Ismail’s mother carried an American travel document, which is usually issued for Green Card holders to facilitate their traveling to and from the United States.
Abu Ismail filed a lawsuit with the Administrative Court demanding that the Interior Ministry submit to the Higher Elections Committee a document to the effect that his mother had never had any other nationality besides the Egyptian.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)