Sufi sheikh denies Coptic businessmen are funding “for the love of Egypt” Friday

Ahram Online, Monday 8 Aug 2011

No Coptic businessmen are giving money for Friday's mass iftar and rally, says Sufi sheikh Abou El-Azayem

El-Sayed Alaa El-Din Abou El-Azayem, a sheikh of one of the Sufi orders, denied on Monday receiving any funds or money from Coptic businessmen such as Naguib Sawiris or Rami Lakah for the “For the love of Egypt” Friday, when Sufis together with several other political groups are expected to have a mass iftar (Ramadan meal) in Tahrir Square. “For the love of Egypt” Friday aims to call for a civil state.

Abou El-Azayem told MENA news agency that the million man march meant to take place next Friday was called for by all Sufis and should not be limited to one order. He added that Sufis are part of Egyptian society, which was provoked by the Salafists who took Tahrir Square on July 29.

He said that the previous regime spread the lie that Sufis are necessarily outside of politics, although Sufis are citizens like all others and interact with the issues affecting their society. Abou El-Azayem added that many of the figures of the national liberation movements in the Arab world were followers of Sufi orders .

Sufi groups and political movements have called for a mass iftar to be held in Tahrir Square on Friday August 12. On the other hand, businessman Sawiris and the party to which he founded, The Free Egyptians Party, have declared that they would not be participating in “For the love of Egypt” Friday. Sawiris had previously announced that protests should stop and the focus should be on elections. 

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