President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gestures with his hand as if he is shooting the gun to show how Khairat el-Shater threatened him, May 2, 2022 - Youtube still
CAIRO – 3 May 2022: Sisi thanked the cast of el-Ekhteyar (the choice) series for showing “a glimpse” of the sacrifices and efforts made by police and army officers and documenting the events of the turbulent times Egypt witnessed from 2012 to the few years following the 2013 ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood regime.
On Monday, Sisi celebrated Eid al-Fitr with the children of officers who were killed on duty by Islamist forces in the past nine years. The celebration included many officials and celebrities.
“We tried, we tried many times to resolve the issue without confrontation or collision. But unfortunately… allegations, defamation, and rumors,” Sisi said of attempting to prevent escalation before the ouster of late President Mohamed Morsi.
He emphasized that all the events in the show were real, and every word was once uttered to leave no room for a single lie.
“The Muslim Brotherhood threatened the army with targeting Egypt’s security three times. Once with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawy regarding the presidential elections. That if the results were not in favor of President Morsi, they would set the country to fire. The second time when Khairat al-Shater said they once burned down the headquarters of the State Security and are capable of holding a popular trial for them and try them. The third time was with me personally, where Shater spent 45 minutes threatening me with murder and sabotage.”
“I swear to God, 45 minutes... for 45 minutes Khairat al-Shater does like this (gestures as if holding a gun) ... and says we will kill and bring (fighters) from everywhere… we will set fire to everything.”
The show portrays Shater, the deputy supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, as the de-facto president, and Morsi as a helpless president who was too scared not to listen to Shater. It was also shown that Morsi knew that had he tried to be independent, the group would not let him. He is also shown to have not known about anti-army attacks that were implied to have been plotted by Shater in 2012/2013.
“The reaction to this series resulted in a state of intense mobilization on their [the Muslim Brotherhood’s] part. Allegations, defamation, and falsehood. That’s what they do. For seven years, I did not mention them for once. I used to say evil forces to give them a chance to back down.”
He added that the success of the show indicates the inclination of the Egyptian people.The three-part series shows the scale of violence that engulfed Egypt following the ouster of Morsi, and the heroism of army and police personnel, as well as the Bedouins of Sinai, to counter the attacks.
“I am naturally terrified”: Sisi mocks Shater’s threats
Sisi spoke of Shater’s threats in an interview as he was set to run for presidency in 2014, although he did not name Shater. His statements, however, did not ripple through the public as much as they did eight years later in a T.V. show. In the 2014 interview, Sisi spoke of Shater’s threats then smiled and said mockingly “and I am naturally terrified.” In the interview and in series, Sisi responded to Shater by saying he would “wipe anyone who would use violence against the army off the face of the earth.”
One thing that helped the success of the show is including real footage of protests and meetings of Muslim Brotherhood leaders that reinforced the idea that they were preparing for violence.
Shater, who is in prison over several cases, was the Muslim Brotherhood’s first presidential nominee, he was excluded due to a 2006 military trial conviction during the rule of late President Hosni Mubarak that the group says was politicized. He was charged with organizing a military-style demonstration by students inside Al-Azhar University.
The Muslim Brotherhood vowed in 2011 to not pursue the presidency to assure other civilian forces that Islamists would not take over the revolution. After Shater was excluded, the group nominated Morsi, refusing to support Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who withdrew from the Muslim Brotherhood to run for presidency as an independent.