Naked images of Pharoahs are heresy, says Salafist leader

Ahram Online, Thursday 12 Jan 2012

Abdel Moneim El-Shahat uses TV appearance to condemn Egypt's Pharaonic heritage, reiterates criticism of Naguib Mahfouz and Alaa Al-Aswany

The newly discovered tomb that belonged to Rudj-ka, a priest who headed the mortuary cult of the pharaoh Khafre, at the site of the Giza Pyramids in Cairo (Photo: AP)

Images of naked Pharaohs on Egypt’s temples are tantamount to heresy, prominent Salafist Abdel Moneim El-Shahat said on Wednesday.

El-Shahat, who failed to win an independent seat for the Nour Party in recent parliamentary elections, had previously called Egypt’s Pharaonic heritage “rotten.”

Speaking to Moataz El-Demerdash on El-Hayat 2 Channel on Wednesday evening, El-Shahat also reiterated his controversial comments about Egypt’s renowned novelist Naguib Mahfouz, stressing that his novel Awlad Harretna (Children of the Alley), one of the books that earned him a Nobel prize in 1988, violated the principles of Islam.

El-Shahat had previously said that Mahfouz’s novel had “symbols that promote atheism” and accused him of “inciting promiscuity, prostitution and atheism” in his books.

However, El-Shahat said he did not mean to personally attack the deceased writer and urged readers to read Mahfouz’s novels to know that he is correct. He also sharply criticised Egyptian novelist and activist Alaa El-Aswany, author of The Yacoubian Building and Chicago.

“Those who attack me should read Naguib Mahfouz’s novels,” El-Shahat told El-Demerdash. “And I challenge Alaa El-Aswany to read his novel The Yacoubian Building on live TV.”

Speaking about women, El-Shahat spoke about his dream for all Egyptian women to wear the niqab (full veil) and claimed Salafists are not the enemies of women.

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