Egyptian anti-sectarian group blames Morsi for Shia attacks

Ahram Online , Monday 24 Jun 2013

Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination denounce the lynching of four Shias in Giza on Sunday

Shia cleric Hassan Shehata
Murdered Egyptian Shia cleric Hassan Shehata

The group Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination denounced on Monday the murder of four Shia Muslims and the injuring of eight other Shias in mob attacks in the village of Zawyat Abu Musalam in Giza.

The lynching of the Shias by hundreds of citizens of the village which took place on Sunday was, according to the group, unprecedented in modern Egyptian history.    

The group blames what they described as ''sectarian crimes'' on the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which President Mohamed Morsi hails, and their Salafist and ultra-conservative allies.

The group urged Egyptian citizens to beware of the “conspiracies forged against them in the dark.” They also emphasised the importance of taking to the streets and protesting on 30 June to “topple” the regime which, according to them, squandered all the values of citizenship rights and the rule of law.

According to the Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination group, the rising sectarian rhetoric culminated when Morsi gave a speech in a 'Syria Solidarity' conference and dubbed the struggle between the rebels and autocrat Syrian Bashar Al-Assad a sectarian struggle.

''The Egyptian 25 January revolution was an example in its peacefulness and equality between its citizens. Morsi just opened the door for sectarian strife between Egyptians,'' the group stated.

The Egyptian constitution, drafted and passed by national referendum during Morsi’s presidency, was described by the group as favouring one faith over others. The group stated that the constitution will lead to sectarian crimes and murders on the basis of identity.

The president’s office and Prime Minister Hisham Qandil released statements on Monday denouncing the killing of the four Shias.

An angry mob allegedly led by Salafist sheikhs torched houses of Shia residents in the small village of Zawyat Abu Musalam in Giza governorate Sunday afternoon, killing four citizens, including prominent Shia figure Hassan Shehata.

The attacks came after weeks of incitement by Salafist preachers, according to eyewitness Hazem Barakat.

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