Sufis meet with US religious freedom commission

The Interior Ministry formally approved a meeting held last Saturday between a Sufi delegation and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) currently visiting Cairo, said Sheikh Mohamed Abdel Khalek el-Shabrawy, member of the Supreme Council of Sufi Orders.

"Members of the commission described a religious situation in Egypt that we know nothing about," said el-Shabrawy. "They claimed that mosque imams are told what to preach about, but we refuted these allegations."

"We told them that imams aren’t restricted by anyone; that they’re allowed to say whatever they want to as long as they don’t incite violence or sectarian strife," he added. "We also told them that the religious situation in Egypt was stable– contrary to what some people outside Egypt like to claim."

Sufi leader Ahmed el-Tigani, who attended the meeting, said that members of the Sufi delegation also explained to the US commission that Sufi orders were very different from the Salafist or Wahabi schools of Islam. "We never accuse anyone of apostasy," he reportedly told the commission.

Islamic thinker and participant at the meeting Ahmed Shawqi said: "We told members of the rights commission that true Islam denounces sectarianism and violence and has respect for other faiths."

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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