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5:27 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Islamists Accuse U.S. Of Complicity In Morsi Overthrow

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 6:03 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

More now on Egypt. Over the past year, we've checked in often with Dr. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery. He is an English professor from Luxor. He got his PhD in Pittsburgh. He is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who ran for parliament as a candidate of President Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party. He was a moderate in that group and he won a seat from Luxor before the parliamentary elections were thrown out by a court.

He's in Washington this week as a representative of a pro-Democracy, anti-coup group. Welcome to the program once again.

ADBUL MAWGOUD DARDERY: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

SIEGEL: You've expressed your diehard opposition to the military's ouster of President Morsi, but his supporters now face the possibilities of a massive police action and arrest. Is there some room for negotiation that would acknowledge both the legality of Morsi's election, at the same time the reality of widespread opposition to his time in office?

DARDERY: There should be room and political parties should be able to negotiate and compromise with one another, as long as the legitimacy of the will of the Egyptian people is served, is considered, is respected, the legitimacy of the presidency, and also the constitution and the elected parliament.

SIEGEL: Do you think it could be respected, at least symbolically - that is, a negotiated, brief, symbolic return to power by President Morsi, followed by someone else being president until the next elections? Does that strike you as fair, just from your own perspective?

DARDERY: It is not really fair. What we want is the respect for the will of the Egyptian people and then everything can be negotiated. Early election can be negotiated. Parliamentary election can be negotiated. (Unintelligible) government that is from the different political parties can be negotiated. I think everything we put on the table was the will of the Egyptian people is respected.

SIEGEL: The Brotherhood is accused by the interim government of blocking any negotiation, any feasible negotiation.

DARDERY: It is, in fact, the opposite because they want us to accept the coup, and that is not acceptable. That is not negotiable.

SIEGEL: Supporters of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood seem to hold President Obama and the United States responsible for Morsi's ouster. Do you think Washington actually could have persuaded General al-Sissi to not act as he did?

DARDERY: That is the tragedy now, the perception on the streets of Egypt that America is responsible one way or another because it failed to clearly condemn the coup. It also failed to impose sanctions on the coup government and also not to allow the democratic process to move forward. To those who came to Egypt as quote-unquote 'intermediaries," always asked the pro-democracy, anti-coup coalition to accept the status quo.

That is un-American. It is unethical and it should not be the American stand.

SIEGEL: Well, you've described that as the perception on the streets of Egypt. Do you share that view? Do you believe that the United State could've actually prevented the Egyptian military?

DARDERY: Yeah, from what I see, it is not just a perception. It is becoming a reality now from what the intermediaries, the American, Mr. (unintelligible) going there and meeting jailed leaders, jailed political - refusing to meet President Morsi and not allowing the president who was elected by the Egyptians, and not supporting democracy. It's un-American.

SIEGEL: But what do you say to the argument that ideally none of this would have happened and ideally there would be parliament, a constitution, some degree of comity and there would be procedures to appeal to? There aren't. So where we are now is the military has acted, President Morsi's in jail somewhere, who knows, and we've got to deal with the situation as it is.

DARDERY: We stand very firm in this - we reject the coup and we'll never except it as ramification. And that should be rejected by the civilized world, especially by the United States. Everyone is watching now what the Obama administration is going to do. If the coup succeeds there are disasters going to happen in the area. But if the coup is stopped and democracy is back on track, then there are many ways that we can solve those problems.

But during the coup and it's either staying silent, reluctant to condemn it, it is not giving a good image for the United States in that part of the world. It is not just Egypt. It is really beyond Egypt. It's in the Arab world and the Muslim world.

SIEGEL: President Morsi's detention has been extended today. The authorities say he'll be kept longer than they had said before.

DARDERY: It is not just President Morsi detention, the whole country is in detention now. The whole country is kidnapped.

SIEGEL: If - well, how significant is President Morsi's whereabouts to that? And would his release be seen by those huge crowds in Cairo as some sign of conciliation? Or would it require his restoration?

DARDERY: If President Morsi comes as a person, that is not enough. He needs to come back as the president of the country, so that the will of the Egyptian people can be respected. And then everything is open for negotiation, open for discussion.

SIEGEL: Let's return to this, you speak of the will of the Egyptian people. But what we're hearing from our reporters there is that the will of the Egyptian people is deeply divided.

DARDERY: Yes, it is.

SIEGEL: Very deeply divided...

DARDERY: Yes, it is divided, no doubt about it. It is polarized and the only way how can we make sure that those who oppose him or support him are more than the other? The only way is through the ballot box. There is no other way.

SIEGEL: Dr. Dardery, thank you very much for talking with us.

DARDERY: Thank you.

SIEGEL: Abdul Mawgoud Dardery of Luxor, Egypt, a member of Mohamed Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.