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Ahmadinejad's historic Egypt visit prompts Salafist concerns
The Iranian president arrived in Cairo on Tuesday to a warm welcome from Mohamed Morsi, but Salafist groups are concerned about resuming relations with the Shia state
Ahram Online, Tuesday 5 Feb 2013
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Morsi
Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi and Iran's President Mohamed Ahmadinejad (Photo: Reuters)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was greeted at Cairo airport on Tuesday by counterpart Mohamed Morsi, in the start of an historic visit by the leader of Shia Iran to Sunni Egypt.

Ahmadinejad, who is on a three-day visit to attend the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Cairo, is the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt since diplomatic relations were broken off in 1980, a year after Iran's Islamic revolution and Egypt's peace agreement with Israel.

According to state-owned news agency MENA, the two leaders discussed regional issues and ways to enhance Egypt-Iran relations in a short meeting at the airport.

They further discussed means to resolve the Syrian crisis without relying on military interference. Iran is a close ally of the Syrian regime, while Egypt under Morsi's rule backs the Syrian opposition.

The two presidents met previously in Tehran last August, during the Non-Aligned Movement summit.

President Mohamed Morsi had earlier stated during his 2012 presidential campaign, that he would "never meet with Ahmadinejad until he changes his stance towards the Syrian regime."

Salafist discontent

Members of Egyptian group the Salafist Call criticised the historic visit, stressing their opposition to any "Shia influence on Sunni Egypt."

In a statement, the group also voiced its opposition to the planned visit by the Iranian president to Tahrir Square, describing it as "having the possibility of sending out negative messages given the current critical situation in the country."

"He [Ahmadinejad] must not forget that one of Egypt's global commitments and [part of] President Morsi's presidential programme is to protect all Sunni nations from political, cultural or military penetration."

The influential Salafist group also stated that Ahmadinejad needed to be "confronted with his responsibility regarding the killing of women and children in Syria through, his backing of the regime of Bashar Al-Assad." 

The statement also raised relations with the largely Sunni Gulf. Ahmadinejad must realise that "the security of the Gulf is one of the main pillars of Egyptian national security," read the statement. 

On Tuesday, the Egyptian minister of foreign affairs stated that Egypt's diplomatic relations with different states would not be affected by relationships with other countries, rejecting the idea that warmer relations with Iran would necessarily hinder Egypt's ties with the Gulf.

The Salafist statement went on to demand that the Iranian leader not to be allowed to visit any places or mosques that are claimed by Shia to be affiliated with their doctrine.
Last November, during the Shia holiday of Ashura, when Shia Muslims commemorate the killing of Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohamed, Egyptian police barred a number of Shia from entering Al-Hussein Mosque in Cairo to celebrate the religious holiday.

The decision to ban the Shia reportedly came after a number of Salafist youth and some Sunni movements filed a complaint requesting that Shia be blocked from entering the mosque.
 





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Denise.
05-02-2013 08:22pm
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Democratic.
Yes Dalou, its about time your so called third world countries started looking after themselves instead of begging of the west, dont see many of them rushing forward with funding though, do you. You lot wanted democracy, you should all be left to get on with it, minus the freebies.
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5



Aladdin, Egypt
05-02-2013 05:56pm
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Allah AKber
LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOl. Thanks AO for your fair and balanced reproting.
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4



ali
05-02-2013 04:51pm
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salafist being silly
The salafist are being silly here. Why worry about iran influencing egypt? why not think about the opportunity of exerting its own influence on Iran instead?
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3



Farid
05-02-2013 04:06pm
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Salafist "sainter" than saint
"The Salafist statement went on to demand that the Iranian leader not to be allowed to visit any places or mosques that are claimed by Shiites to be affiliated with their doctrine". I always thought that Islam means Peace and regardless of faith people should be allowed to enter house of pray. Will Prophet forbid anyone to enter Mosque to pray to the SAME God ???
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2



Hussain Lover
05-02-2013 02:46pm
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Mourning is not celebrating
" Egyptian police barred a number of Shiites from entering Al-Hussein Mosque in Cairo to celebrate the religious holiday." only the killers and enemies of Sayidna Hussain "celebrate" that day. the lovers of Hussain do the opposite. we mourn and cry ! and pray for his peace
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Hussain Lover
07-02-2013 02:52am
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what does that have to do with that?
I was discussing a term in the article that is inaccurate "celebrate" in tragic event of ashura (please read into who exactly of prophets family was killed and taken prisoner by whom thanks). I am neither playing with you; I am hoping to advocate Imam Hussain and the right of any human being to commemorate him on this tragic day. And the shias are being persecuted and killed by radical haters in those countries you listed (as you can read in the news every day), so what strategy is that? Also, look at what the rebels are doing to churches and shia mosques, while Asad never harmed any houses of God. It might be that both Asad and the rebels are wrong, but one is worse than the other for sure. And God knows more
Ali
05-02-2013 11:22pm
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I´m not a Salafist and not stupid
Is there a single sunni mosque in Tehran Hussain Lover? Don`t play with me. I´m not sectarian but it`s obvious that Iran use sectarianism as a strategic Asset. In Iraq obviously. But also in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Lebanon. I have red american Vali Nasr`s Book "the shia crescent". Have you?. And I saw him(surprise,surprise) recently sitting in Munich beside iranian foreign minister giggling while Bashar bombing the Hell out of syrians.
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Saba E. Demian, M.D.
05-02-2013 02:21pm
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The Friend of my Enemy is my Enemy
The ongoing rapprochement between President Morsi and Iran, an avowed enemy of the US and Israel, creates a major headache for the US Administration. The intention of normalizing relationship between Egypt and the Islamic Republic of Iran through officially opening embassies will be viewed with a jaundiced eye across the region and in the West. This is a very difficult juggling act which has its unforetold hazards. Dr. Morsi has to exercise more caution in this regard before embroiling Egypt in a power play which the country can ill afford to be engaged in. There are no foreseeable benefits to Egypt while Iran stands to gain from opportunistic liaisons with countries in the region. Saba E. Demian, M.D.
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Dalou
05-02-2013 07:11pm
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Stop lecturing on Midlle East affairs
Middle East needs to unite it's interrrests, a natural normal necessary process, it's been in ruins from Western interfearence and agressions for West interrests..

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