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Egypt imams condemn attacks on mosques

Al-Azhar preachers' syndicate denounces attacks on mosques during clashes at Muslim Brotherhood HQ, calls for law to be enforced on those who commit vandalism and corruption

Ahram Online , Wednesday 27 Mar 2013
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File photo: Al-Azhar clerics in Tahrir Square (Photo: Reuters)
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The Islamic preachers’ syndicates at Al-Azhar has denounced attacks on mosques during clashes at the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters and condemned the use of houses of worship during political disputes.

In a statement published on Tuesday, the preachers called on state officials to enforce the law on those who carry out acts of vandalism, and said political groups should not provide "a political cover" for violence and thuggery.

The statement comes after Friday’s nationwide clashes between the Muslim Brotherhood and their opponents that left around 200 people injured.

On Monday, the Bilal Ibn Rabah community-funded mosque in Cairo's Moqattam district – located near the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters – issued a statement claiming "members of the Islamist current" had taken control of the mosque during Friday's clashes.

“We call on the religious endowments ministry to investigate the claims made by [Bilal Ibn Rabah] mosque,” Sheikh Ahmed El-Bahei, a member of Preachers Without Chains (a movement of independent preachers), told Al-Ahram Arabic news website.

El-Bahei said his movement was established to promote the separation of religion from politics.

Sheikh Amin El-Said, imam of Al-Kabir mosque in Sharqiya, told Al-Ahram Arabic that imams were being pressured to support a “certain current,” and an imam had been physically assaulted by “some people” for not preaching in support of their political group.

In January, clashes broke out in the coastal city of Alexandria after controversial Imam Ahmed El-Mahalawy called on worshippers to vote in favour of the new constitution which was drafted by an Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly. El-Mahalawy was locked inside the mosque for hours as protesters besieged the mosque.

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