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Friday, January 13, 2012

Salafi leader in Egypt: Forbidden to greet Christians on their holidays

From Al Masry al Youm:
Abdel Moneim al-Shahat, a senior figure in the Salafi-oriented Nour Party and the official spokesperson for the Salafi movement in Alexandria, said in a television interview on Wednesday that giving festive greetings to Copts on their occasions is forbidden under Islam.

Shahat is known for making controversial statements based on his extreme Salafi views, and some blame him for causing his party to lose seats during the recent parliamentary elections.

His comments on Wednesday came during an interview with Moataz al-Demerdash, the presenter of the “Masr el-Gededa” talk show on the privately owned on Al-Hayat satellite channel.

In the same interview, Shahat said: “The maximum tolerance for this belief [Christianity] is that I tell them: "You have your own religion, and I have my own religion.”

He continued: "The Christian is a partner in my homeland, but this has nothing to do with greetings."

His stance contrasts with official views on the matter of greeting Copts during Christian holidays, with many Muslim establishment figures attending public occasions related to Christmas and Easter, and publicly greeting figures from Christian denominations.
The Salafist Nour party has received roughly 25% of the vote in the parliamentary elections.

You can read Shahat's opinion on Christmas in this article.