FaithWorld

In Egypt’s streets, Islamists throw their weight around

November 7, 2012

(The sun sets over the Muhammad Ali Mosque at the Citadel in Cairo June 14, 2009. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih )

Mohamed Talaat didn’t like the fact Christian music was being played at a party to promote interfaith harmony in the Egyptian town of Minya south of Cairo, so together with a group of like-minded Islamist hardliners, he showed up to put a stop to it.

It was simply un-Islamic to broadcast Christian songs, Talaat explained.

“Egypt is Islamic and so we all have to accept Islamic rules to halt any strife,” he said by telephone.

Four months since Egypt elected veteran Muslim Brotherhood politician Mohamed Mursi as president, human rights activists say hardliners are trying to impose Islamist ways on society.

Although reliable data on social trends is hard to find in Egypt, many people believe that cases of religious intimidation have increased.

“There is no doubt that the rate of strange and violent practices by strict Islamists has increased tremendously since the election of Mursi,” said Gamal Eid, founder of The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, a human rights group.

“We have in a few months seen many more of such incidents than we have seen in years before Mursi,” he said.

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