Thousands bid farewell to fallen religious cleric killed in Tahrir

Ahram Online, Nada Hussein Rashwan, Saturday 17 Dec 2011

A funeral march for Emad Effat, a prominent Azhar cleric shown on video dying from a gunshot wound sustained during attack by military police on the Cabinet protest, buries a new martyr

Martyr Dar Al-Ifta Senior Cleric Emad Effat

The funeral procession for Emad Effat, member of the Dar Al-Ifta religious authority, who died on Friday of a gunshot wound he sustained when military police violently dispersed a sit-in at the Cabinet headquarters, is currently on its way to the cemetary in Sayida Aisha district.

Hundreds attended the funeral prayers at Al-Azhar mosque, in an air of disagreement between Al-Azhar sheikhs and protesters on whether the funeral march should head straight after the prayer to Tahrir square where Effat was killed or to the cemetary first.

Activist and journalist Nawara Negm, who was present at the funeral, told Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr in a phone interview that people inside the mosque chanted against the military, but the sheikhs turned on the Quranic recitations to drown them out.

According to Negm, the sheikhs insisted the funeral march head to the cemetery in the district of Sayida Aisha, while protesters demanded the march proceed first through Tahrir Square.

Protesters took the anti-SCAF chants outside of the mosque. Chants included "Tantawi you coward, Al-Azhar is going back to the Square" and "The people demand the execution of the Field Marshal".

The Maspero Youth Movement, a Coptic Christian youth group which has been struggling to honor the martyrs who died in the clashes at the state TV on 9 October, called on all to participate and pray for the martyr.

Coptic priest Felopateer Gamil, a leading Coptic figure, has also joined the funeral march.

Emad Effat, a senior cleric at Dar Al-Ifta, the official body that issues Islamic fatwas (edicts), was killed Friday during a military attack against the Occupy Cabinet protest. A video showing Effat dying and revealing the gunshot to his chest has been circulating on social media sites since Friday.

Dar El-Ifta issued an official statement commemorating their martyr and condemned the attack on the Cabinet protest.

Nine protesters have been killed, according to numbers released by the Ministry of Health, with 340 injured in attacks by security forces against protesters who had been camping at the Cabinet headquarters in downtown Cairo since 25 November.

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