The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has brushed aside rejection from Al-Azhar, the highest religious authority in the Sunni world, and claimed that millions of Egyptians approve of the committee.
In a statement released by the group, the committee said that the fact that millions of Egyptians voted for the Salafist El-Nour Party proves that they endorse the concept borrowed from a similar group in Saudi Arabia.
The anonymous group had announced previously that it was formed to preserve the morals of Egyptians in accordance with Sharia law (Islamic jurisprudence). Its formation sent shockwaves through Egypt, with reports that the committee’s members were visiting barbers and clothes shops and lecturing the owners that their businesses are haram (sinful).
However, the Salafist El-Nour Party’s official Facebook page denied any relation to the new group which was launched on Facebook.
On Wednesday night, after an emergency meeting, Al-Azhar released a statement saying that for 1000 years they have been the only lawful authority on the Islamic religion in Egypt. Al-Azhar slammed the committee as illegitimate and overriding the legitimacy of Al-Azhar as a religious institution.
The committee shot back with an accusation that Al-Azhar was being unfair and that its allegations were “fabrications made up against a committee that millions of Egyptians consented to because of their desire to see the diligent work of their members as they establish the law of God.”