The recent emergence of the hardline Salafi trend in Egypt after the January 25 revolution has given way to a series of controversial fatwas that mainly focused on women, Copts, culture and democracy.
Preacher Mustafa al-Adawi issued a fatwa prohibiting Muslim women from wearing high heels because they are a source of seduction for men.
“A woman can only wear high heels for her husband but she is not to do so outside her house,” he said.
Another cleric, Sheikh Mahmoud Amer, had issued a fatwa prohibiting Muslims from voting for Coptic candidates or their Muslim counterparts who do not pray on regular basis.
“It is forbidden by Islam to vote for them and whoever does that will be committing a grave sin,” he said.
Amer and other Salafi clerics opposed the Egyptian revolution and declared that rebelling against the ruler is forbidden in Islam.
Other controversial statements were issued by prominent Salafi and parliamentary candidate Abdel Moneim al-Shahat who said that democracy is a form of apostasy and categorized the works of Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz as “atheist literature.”
These statements were met with a lot of resentment by Egyptian intellectuals and men of letters who warned of the dangers of such extremist ideologies on Egyptian culture and the awareness of the Egyptian people.
In the same vein, Salafi cleric and potential presidential candidate Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail said he is against mingling of the sexes in public places.
Despite their rejection of the idea of democracy, several Salafi clerics were quick to join the political scene after the fall of the regime and one of their parties, al-Nour, scored unexpected results in the first stage of the country’s first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections.
Al-Nour Party came second after the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)