(N.Y. TIMES) CAIRO — An ultraconservative Islamist whose denunciations of American power have helped propel him to the front of Egypt’s presidential race appears to have been tripped up by his own American connections.
The mother of the candidate, Sheik Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, became an American citizen before she died, according to California public records and a Los Angeles voter registration Web site. That would disqualify Mr. Abu Ismail from running for president under current Egyptian law. And his exit would again scramble the race to become the first president since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, setting the template for Egypt’s future leadership.
Mr. Abu Ismail said his mother had obtained a green card granting her legal permanent residence, but not citizenship, and the incongruous image of an anti-American Islamist seemingly unaware of the details of his mother’s life in California is already delighting Egyptian liberals. And if Mr. Abu Ismail is forced to leave the race, American diplomats apprehensive about the possible repercussions of his victory may also be pleased. But in practical political terms his departure may help unite a fractured Islamist vote.
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