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The Islamist politician, who was invited as a part of the club's "Inside Out" political awareness campaign, later stated he felt disrespected and was not given a chance to explain his political stances.
"This has nothing to do with the American University in Cairo, it is about self-respect. The students interupted me and I couldn't even finish my arguments," Abu Ismail told a group of students and staff after he walked out.
The event was scheduled to last for three hours, and included three segments starting with a 30-minute speech by Abu Ismail, followed by questions formulated by the club addressed to him, and lastly an open Q&A session with the audience.
The commotion started when the moderator repeatedly cut-off Abu Ismail's talk when he failed to answer the questions directed to him about himself and his campaign.
The issues raised by the speaker included the transition of decision making, urging the youth to make choices as a consensus as opposed to making individual choices that do not go through "institutions."
He further discussed restrictions put in place by State Security personnel, which he claimed left people feeling powerless and acting as "observers" when they should turn to activism to bring about change.
Thirty minutes into the event, Abu Ismail stormed out of the hall after apologizing for the misunderstanding. A number of students gathered around Abu Ismail asking him not to leave while others jeered as he left Mansour Hall.
"Our agreement was that he would speak 30 minutes about himself, and then he would answer the questions by the moderators and later students would have time to ask their questions," said Nada Saeed, OC head of Inside Out campaign.
Saeed also told The Caravan that Abu Ismail interrupted the moderator numerous times when he tried to point out that time was restricted because students had classes to attend after the assembly hour.
Mohamed Nabhan, a mass communication senior, asked the presidential candidate to pay more consideration to the students who came to hear him speak, even if there was miscommunication from the club.
Abu Ismail, however, emphasized that it is a matter of principle. He also told students outside the hall to apologize to others on his behalf since the incident wasn't entirely his fault, but due to lack of organization. He also promised to send an open invitation to all AUC students for another speaking session which would be held at his house.
Mariam Abou Ghazy, an anthropology senior, asked Abu Ismail, "Shouldn't a president have flexibility even if something goes wrong or unplanned? If you are a presidential candidate and this is how you react to such a minor problem you definitely lost my vote."
He replied by saying, "I applaud you for the way you think but I urge you to understand that a politician shouldn't be flexible. If the moderator interrupts me every few minutes and I answer him, this means I am bickering."
An IMC student, Maian El-Menshawy, said he could have better handled the situation. "Over 60 students came all the way to Mansour Hall to hear him speak, he could have at least given them respect and answered their questions," she said. Amongst the attendees was professor Samia Iskander who stressed that the speaker "never mentioned Christians nor answered things directly," and that she felt he was "detracted" for saying "women who work aren't respected."
Although he is not an official member, Abu Ismail is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and an advocate of its policies. According to his official page, Abu Ismail stands for the liberal Islamist movement in Egypt.