Head of the Egyptian parliament Ali Abdel-Al has praised Adolf Hitler in a comment widely considered to be a comparison between the German dictator and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
At a legislative session for the House of Representatives yesterday Abdel-Al said: "The people are standing united behind the political leadership… We cannot afford the luxury of discord. Building nations in times of transition requires harsh measures… because it is during these times that institutions are built and infrastructure is laid down."
He continued: "There is no prospect for any country without an infrastructure. Hitler had his mistakes. [But] his expansion eastward and westward was made possible by the infrastructure that had been laid, an infrastructure that continues to the locomotive that has made Germany the first rate country that it is today."
In a Facebook post, Cambridge Professor Khaled Fahmy said that the announcement reveals not only the regime's fascination with Hitler but what it thinks about basic rights and the rule of law.
Hitler was responsible for the Holocaust and the death of 11 million non-combatants. Between 1933 and 1945 Nazi Germany, along with its allies, established more than 44,000 concentration camps.
It is a chilling reminder of the barbarism Egyptian people face.
The comparison drew widespread criticism, including from Ziad Abdel Tawab, deputy director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies who said it raised new questions over US President Trump's support for Al-Sisi
2day the speaker of Egyptian Parliament compared Sisi 2 Hitler as "praise". @realDonaldTrump: knowing that his regime sees Hitler as an idol, is Sisi still your favorite dictator? https://t.co/XKQ3nMUCeD We definitely see Hitler as a Genocidal. Dictatorships don't payoff
— Ziad Abdel Tawab (@ziad_mohi) October 1, 2019
Egyptian lawyer Nour Farahat, who is representing detained spokesman for former army chief of staff Sami Anan, Hazem Hosni, said that the comments will have a negative effect on Egypt's relationship with the EU:
In December 2011 former advisor on moral affairs for the armed forces and member of the then ruling military council Major General Kato said that protesters camped in Tahrir Square demanding an end to military rule must be sent to Hitler's ovens.
An Egyptian court issued an 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($613) fine for the ex-officer.