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Alexandria Salafists open fire on liberals, striking workers in Eid sermons

Religious holiday sees the coastal city's Islamist figures step up their calls for Sharia law and demand President Morsi show 'strength' towards both the labour movement and his liberal opponents

Ahram Online, Sunday 28 Oct 2012
Salafists
(l-r) Mahalawy, Ghalab, Shahat (Ahram Online and Reuters Photos)
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Egypt should get tough and stop "pampering" its people, a leading Salafist sheikh has told worshippers at Eid Al-Adha prayers, in just one part of a seeming broadside against leftists and liberals launched by preachers across Alexandria during the Islamic holiday.

Speaking at Friday prayers at Al Qa'ed Ibrahim Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed Mahalawy called for Egypt's striking labourers and doctors to be fired and replaced by the legions of the country's unemployed. 
 
"Enough with pampering the people, O President. You must be a little severe," Mahalawy said, addressing Mohamed Morsi, whom he backed in June's presidential election.
 
Egypt's recent labour strikes and "lawlessness" were the result of the government's lamentable "flexibility" when it came to settling disputes, Mahalawy claimed.
 
Workers also came under fire at Alexandria's Ramla Square, where the Muslim Brotherhood's Sobhi Saleh dubbed those taking part in strikes "enemies of the people."
 
Saleh, a lawyer giving his own Eid sermon, went on to accuse "secularists and liberals" of seeking to "destroy the identity of the state."
 
"We will not allow it. We are guards of the Sharia [Islamic law] and its protectors," added Saleh, himself part of the 100-member body drafting Egypt's next constitution.
 
A leading member of the Salafist Calling went further yet, questioning the very faith of those opposed to an Islamic state.
 
"Are you not Muslims?" demanded Sheikh Abdel Moneim El-Shahat, during his sermon in the Montazara district of Alexandria.
 
"Don't you take part in prayers, give Zakat [charity], and kill animals for the festival?" he continued.
 
"So why are you fighting Sharia law? Why do you stand in the way of its application?"
 
El-Shahat went on to claim that liberals were undermining the efforts of Egypt's Constituent Assembly to introduce Islamic law. 
 
Alexandria is regarded by many as the birthplace of Egypt's modern Salafist movement. But similar sentiments were on show several hundred kilometres to the west on Friday, in the coastal city of Marsa Matrouh.
 
There, Salafist Sheikh Ali Ghalab told worshippers at a mosque that President Morsi should stop appeasing secularists and instead fight them head-on for a constitution that reflects "God's rule".
 
"The president has to support the application of God's rule -- Egypt is an Islamic state," Ghalab said.
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