Salafist Yasser Borhami (Photo: Reuters)
Popular Salafist preacher Yasser Borhamy confirmed in a media statement Friday that the meeting which he was blamed for attending, with former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, was part of an initiative made by El-Nour Party to mediate between different groups.
Borhamy said the meeting was arranged because of the rising fear at the time that Shafiq might win. He confirmed that discussions tackled only very specific points, including that violence should not be used against protesters, that the Muslim Brotherhood should not be again isolated, that Copts should not be given any “special position” in society and that Quranic verses should not be removed from school curriculums.
According to Borhamy, El-Nour Party member Ashraf Thabet, who had earlier also come under attack for meeting with Shafiq, was also present during the talks, which were only part of an initiative that also included several other meetings with various concerned parties, like the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Borhamy underlined that no deal had been struck with Shafiq, although he had requested that the Salafists support him in the second round presidential elections. “Everyone knows the Salafist Call supported Morsi,” stated Borhamy.
The Salafist El-Nour Party, of whom Borhamy is known as its “godfather,” has been experiencing deep internal divisions of late. After the party's Supreme Committee withdrew confidence from Chairman Emad Abdel-Ghafour last Wednesday, Abdel-Ghafour claimed that several committee members, including Thabet, had been negotiating with Shafiq. Borhami also faced similar accusations.
The controversial preacher went on to warn the media Friday in Kafr El-Dawwar that liberals were attempting to remove from the constitution restrictions on gender equality established by Islamic jurisprudence.
“We do not support violence against women, but God allowed a certain form of beating,” said Borhamy, arguing that in Islam the husband is permitted to beat his wife as long as no physical damage or scar would result.
Borhami is known for his controversial statements, including one in which he reiterated his stance on Jews and Christians, describing both as infidels.
“I hold on to my stance that Jews and Christians are infidels, but they do have rights that Allah has given them,” he once stated during a press conference in Dakahliah, north east of Cairo.
Borhamy, the deputy leader of the Salafist Call (Al-Dawaa Al-Salafiyya), was instrumental in forming El-Nour Party in 2011, commonly viewed today as Al-Daawa’s political arm.
El-Nour Party was the second biggest winner in parliamentary elections in November 2011, behind the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).
Borhamy is a professional surgeon who began his preaching activities in the 1970s. He contributed to the establishment of the Salafist Call in Egypt and is a member of the movement's six-man Trustees Council.