Islamic leaders suggest formation of religious police

Two Jama’a al-Islamiya leaders have suggested the formation of a police force dedicated to fighting vice and promoting virtue.

Sources within the group say the idea was raised by Essam Dirbala, a member at the group's Shura Council, and the council's head, Sheikh Karam Zuhdi.

But the group's most senior theorist, Nageh Ibrahim, said there was no need to introduce such a force, suggesting that instead the regular vice police could be further activated.

The proposed police force would have the responsibility of preventing assaults, thuggery and obscene practices, Dirbala told Al-Masry Al-Youm, saying that the force's administration should be affiliated to the regular police apparatus.

Dirbala noted that certain evil-doings have yet to be covered by penal laws.

Ibrahim, however, said that the remit of existing vice squads should be extended to prevent adultery and sodomy which, he said, are omnipresent at prostitution rings in various public and tourist areas.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the group led an armed campaign against the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak with the goal of replacing it with an Islamic rule. Hundreds of Egyptian policemen and civilians, as well as dozens of tourists, were killed in operations lead by the group, which later announced it was abandoning violence.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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