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Destroy the idols,’ Egyptian jihadist calls for removal of Sphinx, Pyramids

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 http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/11/12/249092.html

Destroy the idols,’ Egyptian jihadist calls for removal of Sphinx, Pyramids

Murgan Salem al-Gohary, an Islamist leader twice-sentenced under former President Hosni Mubarak for advocating violence, called on Muslims to remove such “idols.”  (Courtesy: Dream TV)
Murgan Salem al-Gohary, an Islamist leader twice-sentenced under former President Hosni Mubarak for advocating violence, called on Muslims to remove such “idols.” (Courtesy: Dream TV)

An Egyptian jihad leader, with self-professed links to the Taliban, called for the “destruction of the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids in Egypt,” drawing ties between the Egyptian relics and Buddha statues, local media reported this week.

Murgan Salem al-Gohary, an Islamist leader twice-sentenced under former President Hosni Mubarak for advocating violence, called on Muslims to remove such “idols.”

“All Muslims are charged with applying the teachings of Islam to remove such idols, as we did in Afghanistan when we destroyed the Buddha statues,” he said on Saturday during a television interview on an Egyptian private channel, widely watched by Egyptian and Arab audiences.

“God ordered Prophet Mohammed to destroy idols,” he added. “When I was with the Taliban we destroyed the statue of Buddha, something the government failed to do.”

His comments came a day after thousands of ultraconservative Islamists gathered in Tahrir Square to call for the strict application of Sharia law in the new constitution.

But in retaliation to Gohary’s remarks, the vice president of Tunisia’s Ennahda party, Sheikh Abdel Fattah Moro, called the live program and told Gohary that famous historic military commander Amr ibn al-Aas did not destroy statues when he conquered Egypt.

“So who are you to do it?” he wondered. “The Prophet destroyed the idols because people worshiped them, but the Sphinx and the Pyramids are not worshiped.”

Gohary, 50, is well-known in Egypt for his advocacy of violence, Egypt Independent reported.

“He was sentenced twice, one of the two sentences being life imprisonment. He subsequently fled Egypt to Afghanistan, where he was badly injured in the American invasion. In 2007, he traveled from Pakistan to Syria, which then handed him over to Egypt. After Mubarak's fall in early 2011, he was released from prison by a judicial ruling,” the newspaper added.

In recent months, fears have surfaced that the ultra-conservative Salafi political powers may soon wish to debate new guidelines over Egyptian antiquities.

Islamists have swept the recent presidential and parliamentary elections in the country’s post-revolutionary stage, with the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultra-conservative Salafi Islamists rising to political power.

“The fundamental Salafis have demanded to cover Pharaonic statues, because they regard them to be idols,” Egyptian author on ancient history Ahmed Osman told Al Arabiya English, explaining that Salafi Muslims follow conservative religious principles which view statues and sculptures as prohibited in Islam.

“But so far the government has done nothing to indicate what is the future of Egyptian antiquities,” adds Osman.

Many hope that Egypt’s new President Mohammed Mursi will help usher better preservation of Egypt’s proud cultural heritage. Egyptian officials have recently announced the country will reveal more of its ancient buried treasures.

The tomb of Queen Meresankh III, the granddaughter of Khufu, of Great Pyramid fame, is set to be opened to tourists later this year, with the last resting places of five high priests also slated to be put on show.

Officials are also believed to be reopening the underground Serapeum temple at Sakkara, to the south of Cairo.

[Related article: The Jinx of the Sphinx: How Egypt’s ‘exploited’ past came full circle: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/11/237360.html]

by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Replies (21-30):
muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 12:29 AM
1 mom liked this

Dont you know that obscure radicals ALWAYS speak for all of the religion.

Quoting stacymomof2:

So who's gonna listen to him?  Some random guy that claims to have ties with the Taliban?

I think most Egyptians are aware that the antiquities are a great draw for tourism, plus there are whole schools dedicated to studying and preserving these types of things from history.

This guy sounds like a fool.


Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 2:27 AM
Quoting muslimahpj:
Quoting stacymomof2:

So who's gonna listen to him?  Some random guy that claims to have ties with the Taliban?

I think most Egyptians are aware that the antiquities are a great draw for tourism, plus there are whole schools dedicated to studying and preserving these types of things from history.

This guy sounds like a fool.

Dont you know that obscure radicals ALWAYS speak for all of the religion.

It would be easier to dismiss him as someone who won't be listened to if there wasn't already a recent track record in the region of groups destroying historic monuments despite tourist income and world heritage site status.

Nobody is saying he speaks for all of Islam.  The question is whether he speaks for sufficient followers of Islam to get his agenda carried through.

muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 2:32 AM


Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting muslimahpj:
Quoting stacymomof2:

So who's gonna listen to him?  Some random guy that claims to have ties with the Taliban?

I think most Egyptians are aware that the antiquities are a great draw for tourism, plus there are whole schools dedicated to studying and preserving these types of things from history.

This guy sounds like a fool.

Dont you know that obscure radicals ALWAYS speak for all of the religion.

It would be easier to dismiss him as someone who won't be listened to if there wasn't already a recent track record in the region of groups destroying historic monuments despite tourist income and world heritage site status.

I dont believe he is any position of authority in the govt there, is he?

Doesnt sound like they are planning on destruction of any of the artifacts:

But so far the government has done nothing to indicate what is the future of Egyptian antiquities,” adds Osman.

Many hope that Egypt’s new President Mohammed Mursi will help usher better preservation of Egypt’s proud cultural heritage. Egyptian officials have recently announced the country will reveal more of its ancient buried treasures.

The tomb of Queen Meresankh III, the granddaughter of Khufu, of Great Pyramid fame, is set to be opened to tourists later this year, with the last resting places of five high priests also slated to be put on show.

Officials are also believed to be reopening the underground Serapeum temple at Sakkara, to the south of Cairo."



Dzyre1115
by Silver Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 2:47 AM

 Radicals.....

muslimah
by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 3:05 AM

 

Quoting futureshock:


Quoting muslimah:

 Hey we share the same last name. I wonder if we're related lol.

Aren't you going to tell us how he is incorrectly interpreting Islam?

 I didn't read the article past the name to know how he is interpreting anything.  When I feel like sitting reading that whole thing (if it ever crosses my mind) I will let you know.


Click to join

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 3:25 AM
Quoting muslimahpj:

I dont believe he is any position of authority in the govt there, is he?

The Al-Nour Party (Arabic: حزب النور‎, Ḥizb Al-Nūr) ("Party of The Light") is one of the political parties created in Egypt after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. It has an ultra-conservative Islamist ideology, which believes in implementing strict Sharia law.

It has been described as the political arm of the Salafi Call Society,[3] and "by far the most prominent" of the several new Salafi parties in Egypt,[4] which it has surpassed by virtue of its "long organizational and administrative experience" and "charismatic leaders." [3]

In the 2011–12 Egypt parliamentary elections, the Islamist Bloc led by Al-Nour party received 7,534,266 votes out of a total 27,065,135 correct votes (27.8%). The Islamist Bloc gained 127 of the 498 parliamentary seats contested,[4] second-place after the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. Al-Nour party itself won 111 of the 127 seats.

(source)

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 3:25 AM

(source)

The Aims of the Salafi Da'wah

The Salafi Da'wah is neither directed towards a specific belief nor a particular action. Likewise the Salafi Da'wah is neither a movement of social reform nor a political party. Rather the Salafi Da'wah is that of Islam in the total sense of the word. As Islam is the religion of Allah, it follows therefore, that it is neither the religion of a specific nation nor of a particular group of people. It is the religion intended for the whole earth and all of mankind. For this reason the Salafi Da'wah is neither one of a specific nation nor of a particular group of people; but it is the Minhaaj inclusive of understanding Islam and acting according to its teachings. Built upon this understanding is the realization that the aims of the Salafi Da'wah are the same as those of the Da'wah (Call) of Islam and not those of a particular religious sect or group, therefore the Salafis remain distinct from the various sects and groups in respect to the way and methodology of Da'wah (i.e. calling, propagating, preaching). They call to Islam as a whole, for its correct understanding and implementation. They do not call to particular aspects of Islam, unlike the many misguided groups who emphasize and call to a particular aspect of it, thereby playing fast and loose with its other aspects to suit their own needs. Thus this true call is, in essence, the call of all the Prophets; to the Tawheed of Allah, the annihilation of Shirk, sincerity in His worship, obedience to his Messengers and the following of their way; this is also the essence of the Salafi Da'wah.

Here are the aims of the Salafi Da'wah which are included in, and of themselves are, the aims of the Da'wah of Islam:

  • To produce "true" Muslims.
  • To bring into existence a "true" Islamic Society. Allah says: "They (i.e. the Believers) are those who if We give them the authority in the land, establish the prayer, give the obligatory charity (i.e. Zakat) and enjoin what is good (i.e. to worship Allah in His Oneness and to obey all of His commandments) and to forbid wrong (i.e. to join others in worship with Allah and to disobey any of His orders). And with Allah rests the decisions of all affairs." [Surah al-Hajj 22:41].
  • To establish the proofs of Allah against the Kuffaar and the deviant heretics and groups within the Ummah. Allah says in the Qur'an: "[We have sent] Messengers as bearers of good news and as warners, in order that mankind shall have no plea against Allah after the Messengers. And Allah is Ever-Powerful, All- Wise." [Surah Aali Imraan 3:165].
  • To absolve ourselves with Allah by discharging the trust of Da'wah which He has made obligatory upon us. Allah says: "And when a community amongst them said: 'Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy and punish with a severe torment?' The preachers said: 'In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (i.e. Allah) and perhaps that they may fear Allah.'" [Surah Araaf 7:164].

The Distinguishing Characteristics of the Salafi Da'wah

Among the distinguishing characteristics of the Salafi Da'wah are:

  • Actualization of Tawheed in the beliefs, statements, and deeds of the Muslims. Allah says: "Worship Allah (alone) and join none with Him in worship." [Surah al-Nisa' 4:36].
  • Actualization of the unity of the Muslims through their strict adherence to the Sunnah. Allah says: "And hold fast all of you together to the Rope of Allah (i.e. the Qur'an) and be not divided among yourselves . . . " [Surah Aali Imraan 3:103].
Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 3:26 AM

The Salafi movement: Competing visions

Ashraf El-Sherif

Thu, 01/11/2012 - 14:49

 

http://www.egyptindependent.com/opinion/salafi-movement-competing-visions-part-1

 

 

The Salafi Nour Party was hit by a spate of crises with organizational divisions leading to conflicts over the party’s presidency and the composition of its supreme authority. There are currently two camps competing for legitimacy and trading accusations over political violations and breaches of the bylaws governing internal elections.

 

The tension escalated particularly after it was proven that some Nour Party leaders and members of the Salafi Dawah contacted Ahmed Shafiq, the former presidential candidate, before the runoffs in defiance of the party’s decision to support Mohamed Morsy.

 

But this is only the tip of the iceberg: some have described the current standoff as a conflict between the politicians and the sheikhs within the Salafi Dawah movement. But even that is not a very accurate description of the ongoing struggle.

 

In my opinion, the rifts rocking the Nour Party reflect differences over Salafi political engagement following the 25 January revolution and the subsequent organizational and intellectual transformations that accompanied the politicization of the Salafi current.

 

The speed with which Salafis entered the political sphere has hampered their engagement in necessary intellectual and organizational reviews. They need to do this to disentangle the problematic relationship between preaching and partisan activity and, more importantly, to present a distinct Islamic model for political participation. The formulation of such a model should have been the primary concern for the Islamist movement whose legitimacy is chiefly based on its emphasis on ethics, social capital and the ability to bring about the aspired cultural change.

 

Politicizing Salafism

 

If the major challenge facing the Muslim Brotherhood is the distribution of gains and political positions among its members in a way that safeguards the group's coherence and organizational structure while preserving the group's virtuous facade, the Salafi movement faces the challenge of presenting a distinct Islamist model for political engagement.

 

This model should uphold the abstract nature of the Islamic idea (so not reduce it merely to concrete groups and institutions) and present a politically and electorally competent model that is able to adapt to a changing reality and accommodate the fluidity inside the Salafi current. At the same time, it must retain the unique orthodox Salafi approach. So far, the Salafi movement in Egypt does not seem to be able to achieve this, which may open the door to the rise of other Salafi parties with a greater ability to overcome these challenges.

 

In contrast to the Muslim Brotherhood — originally a closed group that took on the form of a political party long before having an officially recognized one after the 25 January revolution — Salafi activity in Egypt took the form of a loose current rather than an organized group. For Salafis, there was a diversity of activities, orientations, initiatives and frames of reference whose members acted independently in different areas of preaching, charity, social and cultural work.

 

Before the revolution, there were several Salafi players on the scene, such as the Salafi Dawah, with is broad activities in Alexandria and the Delta, Salafi associations, such as Ansar al-Sunna, and finally a form of Salafism that revolves around particular scholars and preachers.

 

When the idea of engaging politics was raised following the revolution, there were differences on the nature of the Salafi party to be formed and how it could manage its relationship with the Salafi current in all its diversity. As time passed, two visions crystallized. The first vision advocated the idea that the success of the Nour Party depends on its ability to expand horizontally to embrace all the orientations and groups of the Salafi current. This would necessitate the establishment of a democratic party that allows for organizational and political mobility for all.

 

In the second vision, it is believed that the Nour Party should have a distinct intellectual identity to preserve its uniqueness, which necessitates filtering members according to loyalty to the party's founding approach, which is that of the Salafi Dawah in Alexandria. The party would have a vertical structure with a clear hierarchy and an elitist decision-making mechanism, with only trusted and loyal leaders passing down decisions, in a fashion similar to the Brotherhood.

 

Competing views

 

Each of these two visions has supporting evidence. Proponents of the first vision believe that an open Salafi party is necessary given the plurality within the Salafi current and the fast-paced transformations taking place within it in the wake of the revolution. These changes have produced loosely-organized activities and groups, many of which are not loyal to old frames of reference, such as supporters of former presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and the Salafi Front.

 

The 2011 parliamentary elections have demonstrated that the success of the Nour Party was only achievable through the mobilization of Salafi bases across the country and not only members of the Salafi Dawah.

 

Around a quarter of the support for the Nour Party during the elections came from a fixed base of supporters, while the remaining support came from voters who may swing to support another Salafi party.

 

In addition, proponents of this vision believe that the idea of a closed group no longer suits post-revolution developments on the political scene. Nor can it be reconciled, they say, with the Salafi approach. For instance, Salafis have reservations over the idea of pledging allegiance to a group and so they believe there needs to be institutional, administrative and political separation between the party and the institution of Salafi Dawah.

 

Proponents of the second vision — that of of a strong party — believe their position is validated from the point of view of Sharia. They think it will be better able to achieve the interests of the Salafi current. If the success of the Nour Party in the elections was the result of the mobilization of diverse Salafi groups, they say, the burden of establishing the party was primarily carried by members of the Salafi Dawah.

 

The board of trustees of the Salafi Dawah, with its prominent sheikhs, has called on Salafis to engage in political work after the revolution, providing jurisprudential evidence to buttress their calls for political participation. They also carried out field activities like holding rallies and conferences across the country before the parliamentary elections.

 

Furthermore, before the revolution, the Salafi Dawah was the strongest Salafi faction despite suppression by security. With its organization, sheikhs and frames of reference, the Salafi Dawah formed the solid core of the Nour Party making it logical for it to continue playing that role. Proponents of this vision also believe it achieves Salafi interests, for despite the criticism Salafis level at the Brotherhood, the Brotherhood's strong organizational structure is its most important electoral and political asset.

 

The differences between the two visions grew starker with the passing of time and developments on the political scene, including the elections and relations with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Proponents of the first vision flocked around Emad Abdel Ghafour, the party head. This group includes young members who became active in the political sphere after the revolution such as Mohamed Nour, Yousry Hammad and some leading figures from the party's supreme authority such as Bassam al-Zaraqa.

 

Most of those who belong to this group are residents of Alexandria who have been influenced by the Salafi Dawah. However, they were dissatisfied with the intervention of some sheikhs from the board of trustees of the Salafi Dawah in the policies of the party in a way which violated the rules of institutional work and the party's decision-making mechanisms.

 

Nour Party disagreements were clear when the party decided to support Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh in the presidential elections. But it was the lead-up to the party’s internal elections that turned the disagreements into open conflict. The elections were scheduled to be held in September 2012, but party members started complaining about attempts by party leaders who subscribe to the second vision to oust members with opposing views. They allegedly tried to direct votes in order to restructure the party to fill the key middle and bottom positions with members who adopt their vision.

 

This has led the secretaries in several governorates, notably Gharbiya and Giza, to resign. Furthermore, the performance of the party's Membership Committee came under fire after it limited nominations for the elections to several thousand members while the party's total membership stands at almost 200,000. There was also talk about the need to rebuild the party in a more democratic way since leadership positions are seized by residents of Alexandria.

 

The party chief decided to stop the election to examine these issues, but the party's supreme authority — most of whose members subscribe to the second vision — did not accept the decision and decided to carry on with the elections, which were held in several governorates. The party's decision-making process has been marred by the dispute, as increasing numbers in both camps submitted their resignations.

 

Some are also saying that the two camps differ on whether or not to form an alliance with the Brotherhood in the upcoming elections. While proponents of the first vision do not mind allying with the Brotherhood, those of the second prefer to compete independently.

 

Attempts by members from the board of trustees of the Salafi Dawah to achieve reconciliation could help mitigate the conflict. But this may help only in temporarily defusing the problems, since the disagreements are neither personal nor a struggle over leadership, but rather a difference in visions. The conflict will only be conclusively resolved when problems concerning the Salafi model for political work are solved in a way that preserves the pillars of the Salafi approach as well as accommodating the fast developments among the Salafi public.



As the parliamentary elections draw closer, questions about the future of the Salafi-oriented Nour Party linger. Some say the party's recent crisis — detailed in yesterday’s column — will debilitate its electoral power, but are unsure whether this will favor the Muslim Brotherhood or liberal and leftist groups.

 

I believe it is still too early to discuss the party's fortunes in the coming elections. They will (partly) depend on the success of reconciliation efforts in temporarily patching things up for the party to run as one unified entity, deferring the final resolution of its contradictions to a later stage.

 

Likewise, the party’s participation in the elections is linked to the ability of new Salafi parties — to be established by former presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and the Salafi Front — to build organizational structures capable of mobilizing voters and going up against the networks of the Nour Party and Salafi Dawah.

 

The party's ability to run in the elections also depends on the ability of the Construction and Development Party — Jama’a al-Islamiya’s political arm — to develop its influence in Upper Egypt, as well as the rise or drop in the popularity of the Brotherhood over the coming months; it is the Salafis’ strongest Islamist rival.

 

Combined together, these factors will determine the distribution of votes among the different Islamist powers. But on the other hand, the total vote for the Islamist bloc, with its diverse currents, will depend on the competitive preparedness of leftist and liberal powers, as well as the amount of protest votes against Islamists.

 

All these factors will only become clear shortly before the elections. But the most important aspect that will shape the future of the Salafis is their ability to come up with a unique model for political engagement, a model that distinguishes itself from the authoritative Arab regimes and their tyrannical modernism, and also from the closed models presented by other Islamist powers that the Salafis have criticized.

 

Salafis need to present a model capable of carving out a space in Egyptian political society. Similarly, they need to be able to deal with the modern mechanisms of politics on the domestic and international fronts.

 

How can Salafis build a healthy and effective relationship between the Salafi current and political parties? How can the Nour Party be structured in a way that reflects the scope and plurality of the Salafi current, while at the same time maintaining organizational competitiveness and institutional discipline to compete with the Brotherhood and reserve a place for the Salafis in Egypt's fledgling political sphere?

 

To what extent are Salafis going to expand the implementation of the jurisprudential concept of “the rule of necessity” to address fresh developments imposed by the local and international realities, while holding on to their orthodox Salafi approach? How are Salafis going to differentiate themselves ideologically from the Brotherhood in light of the growing similarity between their political positions and as the Brotherhood seeks to attract the Salafis by granting them positions and privileges?

 

Also, how are Salafis going to face the rising pressures from more radical Islamist factions to their right? Will they be able to stand up to these factions after they have favored peaceful engagements and gradual change? This will be all the more difficult, particularly if political Salafism and its chief representative, the Nour Party, fail to achieve concrete success by implementing stricter Islamic criteria (for instance with regard to tourism, guaranteeing the Islamic nature of the state in the new constitution and having a strong presence in the government).

 

Salafis' failure to achieve success in these areas will increase the influence of more radical Islamist powers and might lead them to give up on politics and return to their dawah work on the pretext that Egyptian society is not yet ready for the rule of Sharia. In fact, there are already signs that this is happening.

 

Finally, how are the Salafis going to address the negative impacts of the politicization of the Salafi Dawah? This issue is of paramount importance given the fact that popular trust in Salafis and their networks at the local level represent a chief source of power for the Salafis in the elections.

 

Answers to these questions will be determined in light of political changes and developments. In considering these issues, we should not overlook international and regional factors that interact with the Salafi tide. We might likely see the rise of new parties which will replace the Nour Party if it fails to respond to these challenges. To be sure, though, the Salafi movement, and the Islamist movement in general, is embarking on a new stage in its development.

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 3:33 AM

Here's the actual interview:

a translation of part of it:

Al-Abrashi: "Am I going to wake up tomorrow to find that, just as you did with the statue of Buddha, that you have demolished the Sphinx and the pyramids?"

Al-Gohary: "That is dependent upon abilities and possibility. According to our Sharia, every pagan and idol must be destroyed."

Al-Abrashi: "If you are in power, will you destroy the Sphinx and the pyramids and all the pharoanic statues and all the pharoanic artifacts?"

Al-Gohary: "Everything, if it is a pagan statue or idol, that is worshiped or suspected to be worshipped, or is worshipped by one person on Earth, must be destroyed. We, or someone else, must destroy it."

Al-Abrashi: "So you would destroy the Sphinx and the pyramids?"

Al-Gohary: "Yes, we will destroy them, if they were worshipped before or afterwards."

pvtjokerus
by Platinum Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 6:52 AM
2 moms liked this

Huh?  Are you serious?  To say the below means you really do not understand these jihadist and what they are capable of doing.

Quoting stacymomof2:

So who's gonna listen to him?  Some random guy that claims to have ties with the Taliban?

I think most Egyptians are aware that the antiquities are a great draw for tourism, plus there are whole schools dedicated to studying and preserving these types of things from history.

This guy sounds like a fool.


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