The Muslim Brotherhood welcomed the call for demonstrations on November 28 in a carefully worded statement on their official website Sunday.
The Islamist group hailed the importance of freedom of expression without fear of persecution or accusations of treason, asserting that such demonstrations “adhere to Egyptian identity and uphold the peaceful revolution.”
A group called the Salafi Front called for an “Islamic revolution” against military rule, secular movements and the absence of Sharia on Friday, November 28. “Sisi prohibits the name of Allah in mosques and strives to ruin Islam,” the group’s original statement read.
The front also called for protesters to carry copies of the Quran to indicate that “Sharia law is the answer to all the problems facing society.” The call stirred controversy among religious and secular groups, who deemed it “inciting and provocative.”
The Brotherhood said they would continue revolting alongside free Egyptians until they accomplish the goals of the January 25 revolution: bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity.
The Brotherhood statement attacked those they referred to as “state preachers,” who they said have been silent in the face of violations against Muslims and attacks on prophets.
While the statement didn’t clarify whether the Brotherhood is planning on actively taking part in the demonstrations, Foreign Relations Secretary of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Mohamed Soudan, told the Brotherhood’s mouthpiece IkhwanWeb that the Brotherhood and the National Alliance for Legitimacy “have not and will not stop participating in the revolutionary movement until the bloody military junta is fully defeated and completely ousted, and fair retribution is achieved.”
Soudan added that the Anti-Coup Pro-Legitimacy National Alliance haven’t stopped their “peaceful revolution since the coup … despite the junta’s arbitrary arrests, extremely exaggerated rulings and sentences, and the prosecution and judiciary’s treatment of demonstrators in an unprecedented repressive manner.”
Hamza Sarawy, the spokesperson for the Anti-Coup Alliance, who hadn’t read the Brotherhood’s statement at the time of the interview, told Mada Masr that they are yet to decide on whether to join the November 28 demonstrations. An official statement by the alliance on the matter is not likely according to Sarawy.
On Friday, Egypt’s main Sunni theological center, Al-Azhar, issued a statement describing the calls for the Islamic uprising as an “invitation for civil strife and treason,” and the people behind it “religious traders planning to deceive Muslims behind the façade of Sharia.”
In an attempt to thwart calls for demonstrations, the Ministry of Endowments formulated a generic Friday sermon across the country, in which preachers addressed “forms of corruption and attempts to destroy the state.” A statement by the ministry accused the movement of “aiming to confront the Armed Forces, threaten the country’s stability and question people’s beliefs.”
The Salafi Nour Party warned Egyptians against responding to “calls for vandalism and chaos on November 28,” in a statement issued on Sunday, privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported.
The statement asserted that Egypt has been recently swept up by a wave of incitement, vandalism and terror targeting innocent civilians. They warned against falling for “false slogans that could incite more violence, clashes and exhaust the state.”
The party refuted any demonstrations that may take place on Friday, defaming the Salafi Front, who according to the Nour Party are a front for the Brotherhood and not affiliated with Salafi theology.
They further hailed calls to carry the Quran as ”a dangerous and irresponsible move, tarnishing the sacredness of the Quran and subjecting it to violations.”
They requested that state authorities conform with the highest levels of self restraint and apply the law with extreme caution, “to avoid provoking emotions under the pretext of insulting the Quran.”
Deputy head of the Egyptian Democratic Party, Farid Zahran, said the demonstrations are an attempt by the Brotherhood to measure the reactions of the state, the sympathy of people and the current local and international stance towards them.
Secretary General of the Journalists Syndicate, Karem Mahmoud, said the demonstrations are a moral front to disguise the Brotherhood’s bad intentions, which are to target the security and stability of the state, as well as to spread chaos and terror among citizens.
“The state can’t handle such movements now, it’s the time for rebuilding and attracting investors and tourists,” he added.