Former grand mufti Ali Gomaa (Photo: Reuters)
A prominent Islamic cleric was taunted on Campus at Cairo University on Sunday by Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers, as polarisation continues following the downfall of the country's Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi on 3 July.
TV footage showed hundreds of students at a Cairo University lecture theatre jeering and taunting former grand mufti Ali Gomaa, who was present on campus for a thesis presentation.
Pandemonium reigned in the hall as Brotherhood supporters shouted insults and expletives at the senior cleric, with some flashing the Rabaa Al-Adawiya (venue of major Brotherhood-led protest camp) sign and others holding up their shoes in a sign of derision.
Gomaa left shortly after, to the chants of angry students asking him to leave.
Morsi supporters staged small protests on Sunday, the first day of the new academic year, at universities in cities including Cairo and Alexandria. Media reports said several students were arrested across the country.
The former grand mufti has been widely blamed by Islamists and Brotherhood followers for giving his blessing to the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Gomaa recently came under fire for a fatwa sanctioning the killing of those who "drive a wedge" between Egyptians, referring to partisans of the Islamist movement who refuted the 30 June protests that culminated in the ouster of Morsi.
The mufti is the country's leading Islamic legal authority.
Gomaa condemned, late on Sunday on TV, what he described as the "delluded Brotherhood youths," who have been "brainwashed by the lies of the group's leaders."
Morsi's ouster was backed by Al-Azhar, Egypt's leading Sunni Islamic institution, which has further infuriated loyalists.
"You failed to raise your sons and youth... you taught them insults and defamation and lack of ethics without piety and righteousness," he said in a separate online message that he directed to the "leaders of the violators."
Egypt's Muslim brotherhood has been rocked by a sustained clampdown since Morsi's exit. Dozens of the group's senior leaders, along with some 2,000 other Islamists and their allies have been rounded up, with tens facing charges of allegedly 'inciting violence' during protests over the last few months.