Monday, December 12, 2011

Al-Jazeera Video: Egypt's Salafis rise, prompting fears of intolerance

"Egypt's Islamist current has long been dominated by the well-known Muslim Brotherhood, a social and proselytizing organisation more than 80 years old and which has been viewed warily by liberals and the West. Now, thanks to the fall of President Hosni Mubarak and the first free and fair elections in decades, an even more conservative force is rising to prominence: the Salafis.

The Salafi Nour Party - nour meaning "light" - won about 25 per cent of the vote for party lists during the first round of parliamentary voting in late November. That result stunned both the Brotherhood and international observers.

Salafis hew to a strict, fundementalist interpretation of the Koran. Many Salafi men believe in confined freedoms for women and segregation of the sexes, and a prominent sheikh has recently stated that women and Christians should not hold executive office in Egypt.

But Mohamed Nour, a spokesman for the Nour Party, says not all Salafis hold the same beliefs and that the movement has been slandered by the media. He says the party will not infringe on personal freedoms, like drinking in the privacy of one's home, since it would be against Islam.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Cairo."

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