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Egypt's constitution Party seeks prosecution for 'infidel' fatwa by Islamist sheikhs

The newly-formed Constitution Party is taking legal measures after two Islamist sheikhs described the organisation as 'infidel' and forbade followers from joining

Ahram Online, Friday 28 Sep 2012
Mohamed ElBaradei
Mohamed ElBaradei, founder of the Constitution Party (Photo: Reuters)
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The Constitution Party filed a report on Thursday with supreme state security prosecutors regarding Salafist preacher Wagdy Ghoneim, and Islamist sheikh and Constituent Assembly member Mohamed El-Athry, for the defamation and insulting of party members.

El-Athry had issued a fatwa [religious decree] prohibiting joining the party, which was then circulated widely in the media, and supported by Ghoneim.

The report claims that Ghoneim, in a video posted online, stated that he supported "every word" of the fatwa, and described the Constitution Party as an "infidel" organisation.

Tamer Gomaa, vice president of the party's legal committee commented that "although Ghoneim and El-Athry's slanderous accusations that are not worth a reply, we chose to take legal procedures to stop anybody who crosses the line with the party."

A party statement accused Ghoneim and El-Athry of committing offences subject to criminal law, namely slander and public insult.

The Constitution Party was founded by reform campaigner ElBaradei. Prominent members of the party include former culture minister Emad Abou Ghazi, former Ghad Party member Gameela Ismail, and founder of the Kefaya movement George Ishaq.

The party received formal legal approval of its status on 17 September, following a decision by the High Court's political party affairs committee.

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