Deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi

The party backing toppled Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has reacted critically to a proposal from Egypt’s top Islamic institution to mediate to end Egypt’s political crisis.

The Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyib, had invited different political forces to talks.

However, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party questioned the imam’s impartiality.

Egypt has been polarised since the army deposed Morsi after mass protests.

“We are ready to do any kind of dialogue with any intermediary,” Mohammed Soudan, foreign affairs spokesman of the Freedom and Justice Party, told the BBC’s Newshour programme.

However, he pointed out that the grand imam had openly supported the military intervention to remove Morsi on 3 July.

Soudan also said that before talks, the party wanted the release of high-ranking Brotherhood officials arrested in a crackdown on the movement which took place after Morsi was ousted.

Political tensions have been growing in recent days with the interim government saying that international mediation efforts had failed and numbers swelling at two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo.

The military-backed interim government has said police will clear the sites in the coming days, raising fears of bloodshed. Unnamed security sources have said that the move against the camps might begin on Monday.

More than 250 people, most of them Morsi supporters, have been killed in clashes since the military deposed Egypt’s first democratically elected leader following mass protests demanding his resignation.

Soudan said that the protesters demanding Morsi’s reinstatement would not leave the camps “unless we get our dignity back”.

“Those people really are ready to be killed at any second. This is the mentality now of the people who are sitting in both Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda square,” Soudan said.

Al-Azhar, a highly respected institution, has had some success at unifying different political forces since the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, reports the BBC’s Yolande Knell in Cairo.

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