Authorities intensify efforts to ward off November 28 protests

In anticipation of the November 28 protests, called for by the Salafist Front, Al-Azhar announced the sending of envoys to tour the country and preach against carrying copies of the Quran on Friday, the state-owned Middle East News Agency reported.

The religious institution is sending 244 envoys to warn against exploiting the Quran for political agendas, and affirm the role of Sharia in the unity and stability of the nation. 

The Salafist Front has called for an “Islamic revolution” against military rule, secular movements and the absence of Sharia Law on Friday, November 28.

“Sisi prohibits the name of Allah in mosques and strives to ruin Islam,” the group’s original statement read.

The front also called for protesters to carry copies of the Quran, to indicate “Sharia Law is the answer to all the problems facing society.” The call stirred a lot of controversy among religious and secular groups, who deemed it “inciting and provocative.”

Al-Azhar asserted that preserving the unity of society is more important than reading the Quran, if the latter leads to divisions and animosity. They warned against using the holy book during protests, in case it is thrown on the ground amid clashes, and to guard against accusations it is being used to stir emotions. 

The leading Sunni establishment also warned against protests that may destabilize the country and impede development.

Earlier this week, Al-Azhar issued a statement describing the calls for an Islamic uprising as an “invitation for civil strife and treason,” and labeling those behind the call “religious traders planning to deceive Muslims behind the façade of Sharia.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim vowed to confront “inciting calls by terrorist groups” that threaten lives and the stability of the nation, state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

The minister emphasized that any attack on police or Armed Forces and state facilities is a crime that gives them the right to defend themselves by any means, including using live ammunition and referring perpetrators to military courts.

In a visit to Central Security Forces on Tuesday, Ibrahim examined the preparations for Friday’s protests, lauding their efforts and sacrifices.

Minister of Health Adel Adawy also called for a state of emergency in all hospitals across the country on November 28, during a meeting with the deputy health ministers of several governorates. He also ordered that all vacations scheduled by medical staff for this day be canceled.

The Muslim Brotherhood welcomed the call for demonstrations on November 28, announcing participation on their official website earlier this week. The Islamist group hailed the importance of freedom of expression without fear of persecution or accusations of treason, asserting that such demonstrations “adhere to Egyptian identity and uphold the peaceful revolution.”

Meanwhile, the Salafi Nour Party warned Egyptians against responding to “calls for vandalism and chaos on November 28,” defaming the Salafist Front, who according to the Nour party are a front for the Brotherhood and not affiliated with Salafist theology.

The party asserted that Egypt has been recently swept up by a wave of incitement, vandalism and terror targeting innocent civilians. They warned against falling for “false slogans that could incite more violence, clashes and exhaust the state.”

According to local newspapers, allies of the Muslim Brotherhood, such as Al-Watan, Al-Wasat, and the Building and Development political parties have also refused to take part in the planned demonstrations.


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