Egypt's Shiites facing problems at home
By: Sultan Ahmed
CAIRO, Egypt: Egyptian Shiias have been left vulnerable
under a regime that questions their loyalty by Iran's regional
Referring to Israeli attack on Lebanon in July and August, an
Egyptian Shiite and professor of medicine at Mansura
University Ahmed Rasim An-Nafis said: "After Hezbollah's
victory in the war, the regime started to turn its attention
to Shiites (in Egypt)."
"There have been smear campaigns about us in the state press
and in mosques, and our loyalty has been questioned," he told
AFP from his home in the northern city of Mansura.
There are no reliable figures for Egypt's Shiite population.
Nafis and others say the lack of a proper census, community
centres or separate places of worship makes it virtually
impossible to calculate the number.
Nafis, 54, was not born a Shiite.
In 1979, Nafis began to search for books on Shiite Islam and
by 1985 he had read enough to know he wanted to convert.
Nafis explained that what attracted him to Shiism most was the
sect’s principle that the door of "ijtihad" -- the process of
interpretation -- was never closed. He said that Shiism paves
the way for intellectual development, while Sunnism has been
"hijacked by Wahhabi ideology."
In 2004, Nafis demanded the recognition of Shiism as a legal
sect in Egypt, but a police crackdown on the community that
same year stalled the effort.
Egypt's Shiites are not a clandestine group: they speak openly
in the press of their beliefs and pray freely in non-Shia
In April, Mubarak accused Arab Shiites of being "always loyal
to Iran and not the countries where they live."
"The authorities did not waste much time after I converted. I
was arrested in 1987 and charged with belonging to a Shia
organization," said Nafis who was detained three times between
1987 and 1996.
"Whenever something happens in Iran or Iraq, it is reflected
on Shiites" in Egypt, said Mohammed al-Dereini, head of the
Higher Council of the Al al-Bait, a Shiite research centre
based in Cairo.
Dereini voiced his desire in the press to apply to set up a
Shiite political party, but dropped the initiative following
his 15-month detention in 2004 for "belonging to an illegal
organization and threatening national security."
At least 124 Egyptian Shiites have been arrested since 1988 in
a series of crackdowns, according to the Egyptian Initiative
for Personal Rights (EIPR).
The centre's director, Hossam Bahgat, said that there is in
fact no policy of Shiite persecution in Egypt -- they are
treated with suspicion like all other religious groups in the
country as a threat that must be contained.
"In the eyes of the security services, there is no clear
difference between Shiite Muslims and a militant religious
organisation. They simply don't care that Al-Azhar recognized
them," Bahgat said.
Egypt authorities impede Imam Ali celebration at Mount Siani
CAIRO, Egypt: Al-Majlis Al-Ala Le Reayatil Ahl-el Beit, an organization of Shias in Egypt, has said Egyptian security authorities have stopped annual celebration at Makhsha’a (place) Ameer’ol-Mominin Al-Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (peace be upon him) at Mount Sinai.
better than wealth because it protects you while you have to
guard wealth. it decreases if you keep on spending it but the
more you make use of knowledge ,the more it increases . what you
get through wealth disappears as soon as wealth disappears but
what you achieve through knowledge will remain even after you."MORE