Police identify alleged Shia preacher in Boulaq al-Dakrour

Security services in Cairo's Bulaq al-Dakrour neighborhood have allegedly identified one of five Shia preachers after the police had received several complaints about the preachers, accompanied with copies of their interviews on the Internet, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Sunday.

Last week, prosecutors in Bulaq al-Dakrour received a number of complaints from Nahya residents. They said that several Shias were frequenting a mosque where they allegedly insulted and mocked the Prophet Mohamed and his companions in an attempt to spread the Shia faith.

The claimants said the defendants used the Internet to communicate their ideas with residents, and that they tried to arrest them but failed.

Anti-Shia rhetoric is prevalent in Egypt, especially among Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi movement.

Shia community leaders complained of persecution under former President Hosni Mubarak. Al-Taher al-Hashiemy, the secretary general of the Hashemeya Sufi order and one of the founders of the Sufi-led Egyptian Tahrir Party, once said that Shias abstained from performing their rituals to avoid detention by the now-dissolved State Security Investigation Services.

In December, security forces shut down Cairo's Hussein Mosque, apparently fearing that non-Shia citizens would react angrily to Egyptian Shias celebrating Ashura, an annual event that marks the death of the Prophet's grandson Imam Hussein.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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