Saturday, June 11, 2011

Egyptian Salafists: "Grow a Beard for Ramadan"

From The Egyptian Gazette:
As the revolutionaries have been organising million-strong protests in Al Tahrir Square to press for their unfulfilled demands via social networking websites, the Salafists are now doing the same to persuade other Muslims to grow beards and be more pious.

These Salafists are calling for a million men to be bearded before the holy fasting month of Ramadan which starts in August.

Their campaign is a very controversial one, showed how wide the gap is between Islamists and secularists in the post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt.

Such a campaign indicates a radical change in Egypt after the toppling of an authoritarian regime, obviously indicating an unbalance in favour of religion in the Egyptian street, according to analysts.

"This freedom is a fruit of the January 25 revolution. In the presence of the [now disbanded] State Security Police under Mubarak, asking Egyptians to grow beards was like dreaming of touching the moon," says Sheikh Safwat Hegzai, a Salafist cleric.

He argues that this campaign is something normal, resulting from the freedom gained after toppling an authoritarian regime.

"I would like to see a similar campaign for a million women to wear the niqab [full-face veil]," Hegazi adds.

(h/t jzaik)