Cairo, Feb.16 (ANI): Ultra-conservative Islamist presidential candidate Hazem Salah abu Ismail has called on Egyptians to raise money on their own so their country will not be dependent on the 1.3 billion dollars in annual U.S. military aid.
Ismail's estimates that 1.3 billion dollars is the equivalent of about 6 billion Egyptian pounds.
According to the Los Angeles Times, he believes that if each of Egypt's 84 million people donated 72 pounds or 12 dollars a year there would be no need for U.S. aid.
The U.S. aid issue has been heavily debated in Egypt in recent weeks, especially after charges of illegal funding were brought against 16 Americans working for U.S.-funded non-governmental organizations that promote democracy.
Diplomatic tension over the case were further heightened when testimony given in October by Cabinet Minister Fayza Aboul Naga was made public this week.
She said the U.S. was attempting to create chaos in Egypt after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in an effort to bolster "American and Israeli interests," according to state media.
Abu Ismail, a member of the Salafis, or ultra-conservative Islamists, has long objected to U.S. money, claiming that it detracts from Egypt's sovereignty and serves an American agenda that isn't in the best interest of Egyptians.
The hard-line Islamist candidate is also known for his opposition to Western ideas and anything that contradicts the sharia, or Islamic law.
He believes that U.S. aid degrades Islamic culture in favor of Western beliefs. (ANI)
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