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In the first clash of its kind between the Muslim Brotherhood and Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, the Salafi preacher and former presidential candidate criticized the arrest on Tuesday of one of his prominent supporters, saying that the action is “a disgrace that will follow President Mohamed Morsy wherever he goes".
Ismail was referring to the arrest of Gamal Saber, coordinator of the Hazemoun campaign which supported Ismail's presidential bid. Saber was involved in a deadly family feud earlier this week in the Cairo neighborhood of Shubra.
The Public Prosecution ordered the arrest on Tuesday of 30 suspects in the neighborhood, including Saber's son Ahmed. Photos have since circulated of Saber arrested and blindfolded.
There have been conflicting accounts of the feud which led to the death of three people in Shubra, a neighborhood with a large Coptic community as well as residents who sympathise with the Salafi current.
The Christian family involved in the feud says Saber's son Ahmed started the fight by beating two members of the Coptic family with the help of two others, eventually killing a Coptic man. Saber's family says that Ahmed was building a mosque in the area when the other family members beat him and demolished the mosque. They say Ahmed did not kill anyone.
The Public Prosecution has ordered the arrest of seven people from both families.
Addressing Morsy, Abu Ismail wrote on his official Facebook page: "I will remain your enemy in secret and in public” until he sees how Morsy responds to what he called the renewed humiliation of Egyptians.
“Either your will reject this [ wrongdoing], name the doer and refer him for investigation or your entire era will be disgraced.”
When Morsy took office last June, he had the intial support of Ismail and his supporters. The Hazemouns continued to support the president through the remainder of the year, going as far as to besiege the Egyptian Media Production City in December to protest the policy of satellite channels which they say are unduly critical of Morsy..
Members of Hazemoun are also suspected of having been behind attacks on the headquarters of the Popular Current, led by former leftist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, and Wafd Party.
Activists say that the Public Prosecution is serving the agenda of the Morsy government by arresting activists and opposition party members in recent violence with little or no evidence.
However, earlier this week, the Public Prosecution summoned several members of the Muslim Brotherhood who allegedly beat reporters who were covering clashes that erupted between protesters and Brotherhood members in front of the Brotherhood headquarters in Moqattam on Saturday.
The Moqattam clashes and the feud in Shubra may be the first incidents in which the prosecution has ordered the arrest of Brotherhood members. In previous clashes, such as at Ettehadiya Palace in December, members of the Brotherhood allegedly assaulted anti-Morsy protesters. There have been no serious investigations into these clashes, which left nine people dead.
Essam al-Erian, vice chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, suggested that photos from the Moqattam clashes on Saturday could provoke further instability.
"Photos depicting assaults on activists and reporters and blindfolding arrested people send a wrong message at the wrong time.”
On his Facebook page, al-Erian wrote on Wednesday, " After the revolution, Egyptians will not trade their right to security and the responsibility of the police for achieving security and providing safety for all citizens and residents of Egypt for the respect of their dignity and constitutional freedom.”
"Egyptians, no matter what their thoughts, partisan or political affiliations will not allow the return of suppressive practices which characterised all former regimes.”