Salafist Nour Party visits Sinai to combat 'religious extremism'

Ahram Online, Monday 20 Aug 2012

The Nour Party, known for its contentious ultra-conservative stance and statements, sends delegation to Egypt's troubled peninsula to rally support for military crackdowns on Islamist militant groups

Yasser Borhami co-founder of the Salafist Nour Party (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The ultraconservative Salafist Nour Party is sending a delegation to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to "raise religious awareness and combat extremism," the party declared in a press statement, Monday.

The Sinai-bound commission will include members of the Shura Council (Egypt’s upper house of parliament), the Nour Party and the armed forces as well as figures from ultraconservative Islamist movement Salafist Calling, security personnel and governorate officials.

The group will hold a series of meetings urging Sinai citizens to stand by the army in combating the “Takfiri” mentality, referring to supremacist Islamist groups in the region.

Head of the Shura Council’s Nour Party bloc Abdallah Badran confirmed that the attendees will include key figures from the Salafist Calling, including the movement’s head Yasser Borhami and its spokesperson Abdel-Moneim El-Shahat.  Well-known religious figures such as Sherif Hawary, Ahmed El-Sherif and Mahmoud Abdel-Hamid are also expected to join.

Nour Party figures in the delegation will include the party’s secretary-general Galal Amin and Ashraf Thabet, a member of the party's higher commission.   

Members of the Salafist Calling movement joining the delegation have made a number of controversial statements in the past.

El-Shahat described the literature of Egyptian Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz as "inciting promiscuity, prostitution and atheism." Borhami was quoted by Egyptian daily Al-Shorouk as saying a Muslim taxi driver should not transport a Christian priest if his destination is the church.

The planned visit comes after the 5 August armed assault on a Rafah army post which saw 16 soldiers killed and 7 others injured. The attack was believed to be perpetrated by a militant Islamist group in an attempt to enter Israel through the Egyptian border. 

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