Destruction of shrines by Salafis triggers protests and condemnation

The destruction of some shrines by Salafi groups this week has sparked angry demonstrations in Alexandria, triggered warnings by Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, and prompted the Supreme Council for Sufi Orders to form a fact-finding committee to investigate the damage.

In Alexandria, Sufi leaders organized a march from Abul Abbas al-Morsi Mosque to the Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque. Artists and intellectuals also participated.  

Sufi leaders also announced the formation of popular committees to protect shrines. Gaber Qassem, a leader from the Sufi Orders, said application forms will be distributed to encourage young people to volunteer.

He added that a memorandum was submitted to the Armed Forces citing 20 encroachments on shrines. He said that such attacks have increased after the 25 January Revolution.

In Cairo, Abdel Hadi al-Qassabi, head of the Supreme Council for Sufi Orders, announced the fact-finding committee, while at the Hussein mosque hundreds of people surrounded the shrine inside, promising to lay their lives down to protect it. 

Gomaa, meanwhile, praised a fatwa by the Islamic Research Complex which criminalized the destruction of shrines, saying such behavior destroys the unity of Muslims.

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