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Religious Fervor Worries Egypt Salafis

Published: 29/07/2012 04:18:10 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Individual incidents of violence by some young Egyptians on grounds on promoting virtue have put Salafi Muslims under scrutiny and prompted calls for concerted efforts among scholars to preach the moderate teachings o (more)

CAIRO - Individual incidents of violence by some young Egyptians on grounds on promoting virtue have put Salafi Muslims under scrutiny and prompted calls for concerted efforts among scholars to preach the moderate teachings of Islam.

"The Salafi movement has a fear of extremists," Sheik Mustafa Albadry, a Salafi preacher on the outskirts of Cairo, told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, July 29.

"Scholars need to be aware of this rising current.”

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Act of violence by some young religious Egyptians were reported in recent weeks.

Last month, a young Egyptian was killed by three young Islamists for being out late with his financee.

Though the incident was condemned as against Islam by most Islamist groups, the incident has rekindled worries about the rise of zealots in the country.

"People have gotten angry with religion, and this is dangerous,” Albadry said.

"Lies and games are not what political Islam intends."

Long oppressed under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, Islamist groups have emerged following his ouster in a popular revolt last year.

The most prominent feature of the rise of Islamists in post-Mubarak era was the election of Mohamed Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, as Egypt's new president.

Islamists also dominated most seats in both houses of parliament, before the lower chamber was dissolved over faults in the election law last month.

Islamist groups have accused remnants of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's regime of masterminding the incident to defame Egypt's Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi.

“Leaking this case now and trying to turn it into a public opinion story, just a few days after Mohamed Morsi was sworn in, is part of a systematic defamation campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamists in general, adopted by the security apparatus of the old regime,” Ali Khafagy, the secretary-general of the youth committee of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, told Bloomberg Business Week.

“They want people to think that Morsi is giving a chance to the rise of fundamentalists and the spread of chaos.”

A coalition of political groups and activists issued a statement also condemning the attack and calling on authorities to quickly bring the attackers to justice.

Oppression

Salafi scholars blame the oppression of the Mubarak's regime and economic woes for the radical trend among young Egyptians.

“The oppression of the old regime created radicalism because the youth didn't have proper guidance,” Albadry told the Los Angeles Times.

Under Mubarak, Islamists were persecuted and languished in jail for long years.

His secular police state led to anger that inspired terrorist attacks and provoked preachers and scholars.

“And today's financial problems are making people more prone to extremism," Albadry said.

The Egyptian economy has been hammered since last year's revolution, prompting a series of worker strikes and chased away foreign tourists and investors.

The economic woes have frustrated many young Egyptians, who make up about 29% of Egypt's population.

"Their rising fear is that they worry about going against God,” Albadry said.

“They're more willing to go to mosques and seek advice from religious scholars," he said."But a lot of religious scholars are not necessarily angels and they have not always interpreted wisely."

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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