An ultraconservative Egyptian Islamist group says sending Christmas greetings to Christians is “against our beliefs.”An estimated 100,000 Christians fled Egypt between March and September.
Nadar Bakar, spokesman of the hard-line Al-Nour party, told The Associated Press Wednesday that Muslims should only give greetings to Christians on “personal occasions,” not religious ones.
Al-Nour represents the ultraconservative Salafi movement, which wants to strictly impose Islamic law in Egypt. Al-Nour has won a surprisingly strong 20 percent of the vote so far in Egypt’s staggered parliamentary elections.
The remarks prompted Egypt’s Al Azhar, the most eminent religious institution, to issue a religious edict approving Christmas greetings. The country’s most influential Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, responded by sending “its best Christmas wishes to our brotherly Christians and Muslims as well.”
In case you think the Muslim Brotherhood comes out looking positively liberal in this AP article, keep this in mind:
“We'll prohibit alcohol,” said Sobhi Saleh, a leading figure of the Muslim Brotherhood at a Tuesday rally in New Valley, an area west of Cairo.He is wearing a suit and has no beard, so you can't call him a fanatic.
“Tourism does not mean nudity and drunkenness,” he added. “We Egyptians are the greatest religious people, and we don’t need that.”
Saleh also said the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party will apply Islamic Sharia law. “It was planned since 1928,” he said. “But Islam is the solution.”