Washington (CNN) - Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said the creation of an Egyptian democracy would have a lasting effect in the region, but advised Egyptians to take their time setting up a new government.
"If the Egyptian people can create a democracy in the heart of the Arab world it will be a more significant contribution to civilization than the great pyramids," Graham said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
However, if they rush to accomplish their goals by September – when elections were set to occur - Graham said he worries Islamist groups will take hold of the region.
"A rush election could help an organization like the Muslim Brotherhood so my advice to the Egyptian people is take your time," Graham told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "I'm not so sure you can do all the things you need to do between now and September to have an election that reflects the full will of the Egyptian people and to create democratic capacity, but that will be up to the Egyptian people."
The Muslim Brotherhood is an opposition Islamist umbrella group that is officially banned but tolerated in Egypt. A spokesman for the group told CNN that his organization trusts Egypt's new military leadership to transition to a free and open democracy. Essam El Erian said that the Muslim Brotherhood, which has vowed not to field a presidential candidate, expects to be represented in a new parliament but does not expect to win a majority of seats.
Egypt's Hosni Mubarak stepped down from the presidency Friday following nearly three weeks of protests. The military government will lead the country for six months or until elections are held.
Graham, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the potential in Egypt is great but, if reform fails, "who knows where it ends, what kind of forces does it unleash in the Mid East, so you get one chance to get this right."
His advice to the protesters was to "go slow" and "form political parties."
"Take that energy that led to bringing this regime down and chart a brighter future that's based on religious
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