The Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
group was responsible for the infamous 1997 Luxor attack in which at least 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians were killed.
The Egyptian authorities said they believed the atrocity was carried out by members of the Egyptian Islamic extremist group al-Gamaa al-Islamiya
and financed by Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network.
Montasser Zayat, a lawyer who has represented Egyptian militants at trial, said the government had broken up militant groups like al-Gamaa al-Islamiya
and its leaders had renounced violence.
In another sign of the transformation of Egyptian politics, Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya
(Islamic Group), which took up arms against Mubarak's administration in the 1990s and was crushed by security forces, held its first public meeting in 15 years.
Minya, known to be the stronghold of the ultra-conservative Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
and the province with the second biggest Coptic population, witnessed heated competition between three liberal parties fielding three Coptic candidates on top of their lists to face Islamists in the first round.
One of the poorest parts of Egypt, Minya is also a stronghold of strict Islamist groups such as the former militant jihadist Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
(Islamic Group), helping put religion at the heart of the electoral battle.
Political researcher on citizenship issues in Minya Soliman Shafik told Daily News Egypt that Coptic candidates are contesting the elections on three party lists in the first constituency, and this will lead to splitting their votes in front of the Islamists' lists that are topped by leading figures like Secretary General of the FJP Saad El-Katatny, Head of Al-Wasat Party Aboul Ela Mady, and leader in Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
heading the list of Al-Nour Party Amr Magdy.
The scene was dominated by Islamist and Salafi groups and parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
and its political party the Building and Development Party, in addition to Salafi parties including Al-Nour Party and Al-Asala Party, formerly known as Al-Fadila.
Nageh Ibrahim, a leading member of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
(Islamic Group), which took up arms against Mubarak in the 1990s and lost, said Sadat had brought the Islamist movement many benefits and that in retrospect it was a mistake to kill him in 1981.
CAIRO: The family of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, former leader of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
, filed a request to the ruling military council on Tuesday, urging them to demand his release from a US prison before handing over the suspected American-Israeli spy to the US government.
The parties committee also said it rejected the formation of a party set up by Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
, the Islamist group that took up arms against the state in the 1980s and 1990s but whose leaders have since renounced violence.
, the Salafi Al-Nour and Al-Fadila parties will not participate.
CAIRO: Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
stressed in a statement Thursday the importance of achieving national unity under the umbrella of Islam, while guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities and preserving society's identity.
A number of counter-radicalization programs have been sponsored by the government in 2010, these include a "revision and reintegration program" for members of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
and Egyptian Islamic Jihad who remained in detention.
Islamist powers including the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
organized a mass protest on July 29 in Tahrir Square against supra-constitutional principles and in support for the application of Sharia.