Thursday, December 6, 2012

Islamist Vigilantes Begin to Police Egypt

"CAIRO, Dec 6 2012 (IPS) - As Egyptians debate how deeply Sharia should influence the new constitution, and in the face of clashes that left five dead on Wednesday, some extremists have taken to the streets to enforce their own interpretation of “God’s law”. In recent months, these self-appointed guardians of public probity have accosted Muslims and minority Christians they accuse of violating the provisions of Islamic law.

Ishaq Ibrahim, a researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), says reports of incidents began after the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak. Witnesses have reported seeing “bearded zealots” threaten women they deem dressed immodestly, break up parties playing “un-Islamic” music, vandalise shops selling alcohol, and in one case, chop off the ear of a man accused of abetting immorality.....

“Islamists (control the political agenda) so it’s not in their interest to create problems for the time being,” he says. “They want to focus on the constitution first, then comes the application of Sharia.”"

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