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Salafists launch attack on Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood

Leading Salafist Yasser Borhami has launched a fresh scathing attack on Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, accusing the movement of selling out Islam in order to reach power

Ahram Online, Saturday 18 May 2013
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Salafist Yasser Borhami (Photo: Reuters)
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Prominent preachers from Egypt's ultra-conservative Salafist Call have again lambasted the "ruling" Muslim Brotherhood for their policies that they say contradict with Islamic teachings.

Speaking at a news conference held in the coastal city of Alexandria Saturday, Yasser Borhami — vice president of the Salafist Call — stated that "the Brotherhood does not represent Islam in any way," citing the performance of the government.

The incumbent Cabinet is under the management of premier Hisham Qandil, who — despite his constant denials — is believed to be loyal to the Brotherhood, having being appointed by President Mohamed Morsi who hails from the powerful group.

Borhami referred to the fact that the tourism ministry had recently extended the licence of cabarets for three years amid a notable deterioration in the hospitality industry since the 2011 revolution.

Borhami believes that such a move starkly contradicts with the ostensible goal of "freeing Jerusalem from Israeli occupation," which the Brotherhood and its supporters have been recurrently calling for.

"The liberation of Jerusalem will not be achieved by [singing] slogans, but through real change that comes through a genuine will to implement the [Islamic] Sharia of Allah," Borhami told the press conference.

Directing his speech to the Brotherhood, based on the widespread notion that the Brotherhood is real ruling body of Egypt, and not President Morsi, he said: "You extend the licences of cabarets and then go on satellite channels to say 'going to Jerusalem, millions of martyrs?'"

Allying with 'enemies'

Another leading Salafist Call figure, Ahmed Farid, echoed similar sentiments, reiterating the opposing stance of the Salafists on normalising relations with Iran.

He said during the same conference, "They repeatedly say that the Prophet Mohammed is their role model, that the Quran is their constitution, and jihad is their way. But then they ally with Shia, the enemies of Islam."

While the majority of Muslims are Sunni, Shia represents the second largest Islamic population. The camps have fundamental differences in their respective doctrines, which creates hostility between them.

Salafists have repeatedly voiced opposition to normalising relations with Iran for fear it could lead to the growth of Shia Islam — the state religion of Iran — in Egypt where a Shia population barely exists.

Early in April, Prime Minister Qandil said Iranian tourists were very keen to visit Egypt for religious reasons; for example, to visit the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Al-Hussein.

On 1 April, more than 50 Iranians — the first official group to visit Egypt for tourism in decades — arrived in Upper Egypt amid tight security. The visit came as part of a bilateral tourism agreement signed in February.

Tourism between the two countries has been almost non-existent since all bilateral relations were severed following Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. Attempts to revive links were never welcomed by Salafists.

"Getting close to Iran is a betrayal of the state," Farid stated. "Whoever does that is selling his religion for a bunch of dollars."

"The Brotherhood said that [satisfying] Allah was their purpose, but by experience it turned out that to rule is their real goal."

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