Salafist Call slams culture minister after 'secular state' comments

Ahram Online , Sunday 4 Oct 2015

Culture minister Helmy El-Namnam made statements describing Egypt as "secular by instinct"

Culture minister Helmy El-Namnam is 'clashing with the constitution' according to the Salafi group

The Salafist Call (Al-Daawa Al-Salafiya), an Egyptian salafi organisation, slammed newly appointed culture minister Helmy El-Namnam on Sunday after he said on TV that Egypt is "by instinct a secular state".

The Salafitst Call statement called for El-Namnam to honour his oath of respect for the constitution, which states that Islamic sharia is the principle source of legislation.

El-Namnam said on privately owned TV channel Sada El Balad on Friday that Egypt has always been secular "by instinct", adding that "political Islam" only lead to chaos in the region.

The culture minster added that the only two Islamic states in Egypt's history both failed.

The Salafist Call referred to El-Namnam as "a minister clashing with the constitution, the law, and the religion of the majority of Egyptian people" and asked him to apologise or resign.

The salafi group called for Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to interfere after the "offence" and said they would wait for Egyp'ts president Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi to take appropriate action.

The group said they chose not to comment when El-Namnam was first appointed as culture minister despite concerns over similar statements he had made  in 2013.

The Salafist Call further pointed to the 2014 constitution, where Egypt is referred to as a "modern democratic state".

“The minister should realise that the most important role for the culture minister is to preserve the culture of the nation,” the statement read.

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