This can be scary. Though have to watch how it develops. (Or it bound to lead to tension and collision.)
Point: One idea here is Egypt’s Brotherhood is capable of embracing Salafi/Wahabi doctrines.
And if Brotherhood and Salafi unleash their spontaneous momentum - they could try at Al Azhar. I don’t know it gets to that stage - or it takes more of ‘politics’ before such drastic thing can take place.
News that Salafist Mohamed Ibrahim has been chosen as Minister of Awqaf evokes fear of threats to Egypt’s moderate religious identity; critics say he was picked because of his strong relations to MB leader, Khairat El-Shater
A number of religious and political figures expressed their discontent with the appointment of Mohamed Yosri Ibrahim as minister of religious endowments – Awqaf – in the new cabinet, voicing fears that this heralds an imposition of Wahabbism, a Saudi-influenced conservative form of Islam.
According to a statement issued by a number of Sufis and moderate religious groups, the choice of Ibrahim, a member of the Salafist Call, to head the Ministry of Awqaf will negatively influence Egypt cultural and religious identity. The ministry regulates mosques and is responsible for the issuing of licenses to preachers.
In the statement the groups stressed that their efforts in fending off what they saw as a Wahhabi influence will not be limited to statements. They further accused Ibrahim of denying doctrines of Al-Azhar in his writing. Al-Azhar is widely perceived as a moderate religious institute, and the main centre of Islamic education in the world.
Mohamed Ibrahim who received his PhD from Al-Azhar revealed on Friday on his official twitter account that he accepted to head the Ministry of Awqaf following a meeting with newly appointed prime minister Hisham Qandil.
Qandil has indicated that the new cabinet will be announced on Thursday.
Islamist liberal activist Ibrahim El-Hodaiby also used his Facebook page to express his disapproval, pointing out that Ibrahim had failed to win a seat the parliamentary elections last winter when he was running on the list of Al-Asala Salafist party.
El-Hodaiby further claimed that Ibrahim’s presence in both the Constituent Assembly and now his appointment as Minister of Awqaf are due to his strong relations with one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leading figures.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim used Twitter to deny claims that he won the post because of his good relations with highly influential Muslim Brotherhood figure Khairat El-Shater.
El-Hodaiby also accused Ibrahim of dressing in the garb of Al-Azhar scholars, fooling people that he is a moderate man, while in fact he fights its principles and embraces Salafist ideologies.
Ibrahim confirmed his respect for the entity of Al-Azhar and the role it played in his own education, adding that sectarian differences does not mean disrespect of the other.
Former MP Mohamed Abu Hamed, known for his anti-Islamist stance, slammed the news of Ibrahim’s appointment describing it as a proof of the Muslim Brotherhood’s embrace of Wahhabi thinking. He predicted Wahhabi preaching will spread in mosques across Egypt, and that Wahhabi Islam does not believe in democracy and can only rule with the enforcement of fascist dictatorship.
Meanwhile, a member of the dissolved parliament Mostafa Al-Naggar who defeated Ibrahim in the last parliamentary elections congratulated him for the new post on his twitter account.
In 2011, Ibrahim was one of many Salafist preachers who claimed that a woman Camilia Shehata was kidnapped by the church for converting to Islam, feeding sectarian tensions. Salafists led a number of protests demanding the release of Shehata who later gave a televised interview refuting any claims that she had converted.