DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that massive protests against his Islamist Egyptian counterpart has spelt the end of “political Islam,” in statements posted on Wednesday on his official Facebook page.
“What is happening in Egypt is the fall of what is known as political Islam,” Assad said in an interview with Syrian state newspaper Ath-Thawra, excerpts of which were posted on the Internet.
“Anywhere in the world, whoever uses religion for political aims, or to benefit some and not others, will fall,” Assad said.
Earlier Syria’s Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi had said on Wednesday that Egypt would overcome its current crisis if President Mohamed Morsi left office.
Egypt’s “security and unity are a national responsibility”, Zohbi told a news conference broadcast by state television.
“Egypt will be able to overcome its crisis if Morsi realises that the vast majority of the Egyptian people refuse his presence and are calling for his departure,” he added.
“Those who are loyal to the (Egyptian) nation should side by the people, and against the terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood” movement from which Morsi hails.
There is long-standing animosity between the Syrian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood, and membership in the group has been punishable by death in Syria since the 1980s.
The Syrian branch of the Brotherhood today plays a key role in the exiled opposition National Coalition, which is recognised by more than 100 states and organisations as legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
Zohbi launched a verbal attack on Monday as well against Morsi – who last month severed ties with Syria – saying the Brotherhood had proven a failure in Egypt.
Morsi has repeatedly called for Assad to step down.