* Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya members killed tourists in Luxor
* Appointment infuriated Egyptians, triggering protests
* Hardline group out in force at Friday's pro-Mursi rally
(Recasts with group saying governor to resign on Sunday)
By Yasmine Saleh
CAIRO, June 22 The governor of Egypt's Luxor
province, controversially appointed despite belonging to a
hardline Islamist group that massacred 58 tourists in Luxor in
1997, will step down on Sunday "for the sake of Egypt", the
President Mohamed Mursi of the moderate Islamist Muslim
Brotherhood infuriated many last Monday with his appointment of
Adel Mohamed al-Khayat, reaching out for a political alliance
with the more radical al-Gamaa al-Islamiya ahead of a big wave
of opposition-led protests expected to start on June
But al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, which has renounced violence,
appeared to want to show that it could put Egypt's needs first -
especially the tourist industry, a mainstay of the economy that
has suffered badly in two years of unrest.
Safwat Abdel Ghani, one of the group's leaders, was quoted
by the state-owned Al-Ahram news website as saying the governor
would announce his resignation on Sunday. Sources in the cabinet
and the presidency said they were not aware of such move.
"We are not after any post," Abdel Ghani told an earlier
news conference. "We asked the new governor to resign for the
sake of Egypt."
Both Mursi's Islamists and the leftist-secular opposition
are trying to marshal support before June 30.
On Friday, thousands of protesters from al-Gamaa
al-Islamiya, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups
staged a big pro-Mursi rally and warned opponents, who they
described as atheists, Western agents and anti-Islamic, that
they would be crushed if they forced Mursi out. The opposition
called it an attempt to "terrorise" them.
Mursi's appointment of a large number of Islamist governors
including Khayat triggered protests in many cities.
Mursi himself defended the appointment of Khayat in the
newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm on Saturday, saying there had "never
been a court ruling" against him, and cautioned that the state
would act if the June 30 rally turned violent.
The protest is being organised by a group of young
independent Egyptians called Tamarud (Rebel), which says it has
gathered over 15 million signatures in a month - more than one
in six of the population - calling for Mursi to quit.
Both the youth movement and established opposition leaders
are demanding an early presidential election after what they
describe as Mursi's failure to live up to any of his promises of
more freedoms and better economic and living conditions.
But Mursi's allies say he needs more than a year in office
to tackle Egypt's deep economic and political problems.
Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya renounced violence and condemned al
Qaeda in ideological U-turns a decade ago, and recently founded
the Building and Development Party to expand its political
Many of its members were jailed for decades under president
Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled by mass protests more than two
years ago. Mursi freed them last year, shortly after his
election, with many moving into public life.
However, some of the recently freed members still defend
their violent past. Assem Abdel Maged, convicted and jailed for
his role in the killing of more than 100 policemen in one attack
in the 90s and now leading a pro-Mursi campaign, said he had
never regretted any of his actions.
(Additinal reporting by Omar Fahmy and Ahmed Tolba; Writing by
Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Kevin Liffey)