Controversial French leader tries to polish image in Egypt

Updated 29 May 2015

Controversial French leader tries to polish image in Egypt

CAIRO: French far-right leader Marine Le Pen held talks in Egypt with Al-Azhar that broached the top Sunni body’s “serious concerns” over her party’s stance on Islam, it said.
National Front president Le Pen met late Thursday with Ahmed Al-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar, at its Cairo headquarters during which he questioned her organization’s “hostile opinions toward Islam and Muslims,” an Al-Azhar statement said.
Tayeb added that the National Front’s “opinions must be reviewed and corrected.”
The National Front, which had a strong showing in local elections in March, has campaigned on politically explosive issues of immigration and the integration of Islam into French society after the Paris attacks.
Le Pen, who did not wear a veil during the meeting, “recognized the need to not confuse Islam with the violent acts committed” in its name, Al-Azhar said.
The National Front leader tweeted: “Meeting in Cairo with the highest Sunni authority: strong agreement on the fight against extremism.”
The talks were conducted at Le Pen’s request, Al-Azhar said, “to discuss matters related to erroneous ideas and concepts about Islam and extremist ideologies and racism that some Muslims in Europe are suffering from.”
The millennium-old institution has emerged as a leading theological center of Islam and shows a will to promote moderate Islam and dialogue with Christians.
Al-Azhar supervises several universities across the country offering courses to thousands of Muslim students from around the world.


Egypt abolishing jail terms for businessmen

The Egyptian parliament to abolish laws that imprison investors. (Reuters)
Updated 23 February 2020

Egypt abolishing jail terms for businessmen

  • “Harming public money or the health of citizens entails serving sentences. Any economic or administrative violations are punishable”

CAIRO: The Egyptian parliament has announced that laws that imprison investors have been scratched, stressing that imposing jail time on financial wrongdoers affects investment in Egypt.
Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said in a public parliamentary session that he and parliament will not allow investment to “escape” from Egypt, “so the idea of replacing imprisonment with deterrent fines must be preserved.”
“I will never allow the imprisonment of businessmen involved in financial violations,” Abdel-Aal said.
Egypt’s parliament takes its cue from countries which have abolished penalties to safeguard the freedom of investors in economic legislation, in support and encouragement of investment, said Economic Affairs Committee Chairman in Parliament Ahmed Samir. Samir said the principle of not imprisoning investors in financial crimes was approved by parliament at the beginning of the current legislative term but is not final.
He explained that investors do not enjoy absolute immunity against imprisonment and that there are crimes in which jail is necessary, including harming public money or the interest of the state or harming the health of citizens.
“Harming public money or the health of citizens entails serving sentences. Any economic or administrative violations are punishable,” Samir told Arab News.
Mohsen Adel, former head of the Investment Authority, stressed that Egypt has taken the view of international institutions which is believed may encourage investment incentives to attract direct foreign investment, and that preventing businessmen from going to jail guarantees the protection of the investor who works in good faith and is similar to international standards.

SPEEDREAD

Egypt’s parliament takes its cue from countries which have abolished penalties to safeguard the freedom of investors in economic legislation with the aim to support and encourage investment.

Ahmed El-Zayat, a member of the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association, said the abolition by parliament of imprisoning businessmen in economic legislation is aimed at encouraging investors to invest more and to provide all logistical support to help deal with global competition and attract foreign investment.
El-Zayat pointed to efforts such as solving the problems of troubled factories, refinancing, operating, reconciling with investors and providing a safe business environment that provides the factors needed to increase investments.
El-Zayat said doing away with incarceration of investors and replacing that with financial fines and providing new mechanisms to tighten control over economic business to prevent any excesses and achieve economic justice will raise the confidence of businessmen in the Egyptian economy, especially in industry. He said this will realize the state’s vision of increasing Egyptian exports $55 billion over the coming years.
Mohamed Waheed, chairman of Catalyst Company and founder of the first electronic market for trade in Egyptian products, said the state’s new initiative is a “legislative boom” which will add to the advantages and incentives guaranteed by the investment law, making Egypt the most prominent destination for investors as it enhances its competitiveness and increases demand for work and investment.

Waheed emphasized that the new investment law and its amendments, in addition to investment incentives and positive benefits for projects, organizes the file of penalties for the economic sector within the framework of a general approach from the state to develop the investment environment in a way that enhances its competitiveness and elements of its attraction to local and foreign investments.
He said this vision is a message from the state that supports serious investment and protects well-intentioned investors from the risks and fluctuations of local and global markets.
Al-Waheed added that this will guarantee the seriousness of work and strengthen the values of governance, transparency and serious competition on the basis of common interests and hard work to reap the fruits of development without measures that limit market capabilities and hinder opportunities for expansion and prosperity.