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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Egyptian Salafi "vice" squad attempts to cut off man's tongue

We've discussed Saudi Arabia's official religious police before, but in Egypt the unofficial "vice squad" is already out of control. From Al Arabiya:
The “Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Authority” group , in Egypt’s eastern city of Suez has attacked a man for not allowing them to use his private toilet and ordered to cut his brother's tongue for “cursing” Islam.

Ahmed Gharib, this week told the online newspaper, al-Mowjaz, that the problem started as he was in his shop, in the El-Arbeen area in Suez, when a “bearded man” rushed inside to use the bathroom.

“I told him that he needs to ask for permission to use the toilet,” said Gharib, “but he just responded with ‘we do not ask for permission,’” he added.

A few minutes later, a group of 30 “bearded” men reportedly came to Gharib’s shop and said they wanted to “discipline him for insulting a religious figure,” reported the newspaper.

“They tied me down and assaulted me,” said Gharib. “They tried to cut off my hand for reaching for one of them,” he added.

They were unable to cut off his hand, however, as passersby intervened to stop the fight. But Gharib sustained deep cuts.

Gharib’s brother, who had reached the shop later, angered with what had happened to his brother insulted the men so the “Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” group ordered the cutting of the young man’s tongue as they claimed that he cursed Islam.

“They tried to catch him to carry out the order but he managed to escape with the help of neighbors,” said Gharib.

The father of the two men had to report the incident to police after the group refused to leave and remained waiting for the brother outside his home’s doorstep.

A political activist, Fawazi Abdul al-Fatah, also confirmed the incident and said that the group remained in search of the young man and members of the neighborhood had to guard the man’s house.

The incident is the latest in a series of events where extremist groups, mainly Salafis, have carried out attacks against Egyptian citizens to prevent them from carrying out what they say is the “vice,” prompting fears among human right activists and liberalists of the deteriorating status of personal freedoms.

In July this year the same group stabbed to death university student Ahmed Hussein Eid for walking alone with his fiancée.

“We see groups of them [Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice commission] roaming the streets of Suez but authorities insist on denying their existence,” said Fatah.