Egypt’s problems will melt under “the sunshine of freedom”, Grand Mufti Sheikh Ali Gomaa said in a sermon attended by the ruling military council on Friday when thousands gathered across the country to condemn sectarian violence. He prayed for God to bestow strength on the military which has been governing Egypt since Hosni Mubarak was forced from power on Feb. 11 by an uprising demanding political reform and an end to autocratic rule.
Addressing the sectarian violence that broke out in Cairo this week, killing 13 people, Gomaa said attacks on Christians were un-Islamic. Thousands of Egyptians, both Muslim and Christian, gathered after Friday prayers to call for unity and to condemn the arson attack that ignited the sectarian tension. Thirteen people were killed in clashes between Muslims in Christians in Cairo on Tuesday night after the arson attack on a church. Activists have described the violence as a threat to the revolution.
“Christians or Muslims, we are all Egyptians,” protesters chanted. Several thousand gathered in Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the protest movement, to condemn the violence and a senior army officer held aloft a Koran and a cross while addressing demonstrators there.
Gomaa, appointed by Mubarak and Egypt’s highest religious legal authority, said those killed in the uprising were martyrs. “The martyr is he that orders the propagation of virtue and the elimination of vice. That is what happened on Jan. 25,” Gomaa said, referring to the first day of the uprising that swept former president Mubarak from power. “Let us not let their blood be lost in vain. Let us look to the future and end this fluid political and social period and bring back the economy, security and stability,” he said.