Sunday, March 25, 2012

Egyptian Salafist presidential candidate "to use Israel as an example"

From Al Arabiya:
Salafist candidate for Egypt’s presidential election, Sheikh Hazim Salah Abu Ismail, has spoken against the practice of taking taxes from casinos and night clubs and shown his support for art and cinema at a time when fears loom of Islamists suppressing the arts if they come to power.

Israel has banned taxing gambling because it is against Judaism, while Egypt makes money from belly dancers entertaining drunk men,” Abu Ismail told Al Arabiya.

Ismail said if he wins the presidency, he will make economic leaps without resorting to such tactics, adding that he will use Israel as an example.

“I have seen cities in the United States where its people try to raise money to buy casinos which they convert to other businesses in a bid to keep their cities gambling-free and to make Las Vegas as the only American city for such activities to occur,” he said, adding “conservative Americans do not accept such activities in their cities.”

“If we want to just go after money, then we should allow prostitution, right?” he said. “We should honor Egyptians’ dignity… no Egyptian should be humiliated, and this won’t make the country poor but it will increase its income, and God is above all.”

Tourism in Egypt in considered to be one of the most important sectors to the country’s economy. The sector also employs about 12 percent of Egypt’s workforce.

Early indications show that Ismail is a serious contender for the upcoming elections which has over 100 people vying for the presidency.
Israel has no casinos, although there are four casino cruise ships based in Eilat. I don't know their tax status.

And, of course, there are many places in America that one can legally gamble, not just Las Vegas.

Given that there are so many presidential candidates in Egypt, a Salafist candidate can easily win if the other parties split their votes across several candidates. And Ismail has appealed to Copts and others for being relatively moderate, for an Islamist.