Sufi Orders to choose presidential candidate on Sunday

Mohamed al-Sharnouby, a member of the Executive Office of the Sufi Orders, said Tuesday that the Sufi Orders would make a final decision on which presidential candidate to endorse on Sunday, after having met with candidates Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh and Hamdeen Sabbahi.

Sources close to the Sufi Orders said the sheikhs are divided between supporting Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq.

“We have the largest voting bloc among the Islamic movements, but we need to agree on a single candidate,” Sharnouby said, claiming that 15 million Sufis would abide by the decision of the sheikhdom.

He added that the Sufis would not support Islamist candidates Abouel Fotouh, Mohamed Selim al-Awa or Mohamed Morsy. “People do not trust them,” he said.

“We are holding five rallies in different governorates to familiarize our followers with the candidate we choose,” he said. “And the decision would be binding to all.”

Sufi Muslims are distinguished for mystical religious practices that the more conservative Salafis consider against Islamic teachings. After the January 2011 uprising forced Mubarak to resign, Sufis made their first foray into politics by establishing parties to counter the growing influence of Salafi groups that were also beginning to engage in the political arena.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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