- Middle East/North Africa
Several groups have harshly condemned today’s pro-Sharia protests in Tahrir, including liberal political parties, Coptic activists, writers and intellectual movements.
"The demonstration for Sharia was a demonstration to fool Egyptians. The Muslim Brotherhood, its Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi-led Nour Party announced falsely non-participation, then participated through their symbols and members who appeared on satellite channels," said writer Youssef al-Qaeed.
Qaeed said that Islamists are using indirect political tactics to prepare Egyptian people to accept a defective constitution amid the absence of popular bases for liberals in the street.
To add insult to injury, Qaeed said, for the first time police actively secured the protest by setting up bars and a cordon to protect the Islamists.
"This demonstration set out to achieve evil objectives, most notably to convince the Egyptian people falsely that the Islamic law is not implemented, although it was applied in Egypt before the oldest person in the demonstration was born," said former Culture Minister Gaber Asfour.
"The demonstration wants to achieve the dictatorship of single voice, which is that of Salafi groups who are still far from faith in democracy, and still reject people different from them," Asfour added.
Asfour warned that the protest could turn Cairo into a second Kandahar, pointing out that Islamists who organized the protest resembled the Taliban in their attitudes and goals.
"Wise (Islamist) forces led by the Muslim Brotherhood did not participate in the protest," Asfour pointed out.
"Salafi bigoted groups represent a threat to the future of Egypt," he said.
Writer Wahid Hamed described the event as a prelude to the "repetition of the scenario of dividing Sudan, especially as the organizers of the protest resemble the Taliban in Afghanistan and work for foreign bodies," he alleged.
Hamed described the protest as a "colonial conspiracy" that aims to divide the Middle East and sow religious discord in the region.
Coptic movements also condemned pro-Sharia protests in Tahrir Square on Friday, calling for greater freedom and equality in Egypt.
Friday’s protests are merely an attempt by the Islamists to show off their power, particularly since Sharia is already the rule of law in Egypt, Maspero Youth Union coordinator Andrew Oweidah told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
“We want a new constitution keen to apply citizenship and social justice, and that does not side with one party at the expense of another, because Egypt is for all Egyptians," Oweidah said. He also denounced those protesters who held Saudi and Al-Qaeda flags in Tahrir Square.
Coptic Youth movement coordinator Ramy Kamel also spoke out against the protest, saying: "We will not accept as Coptic youth that Egypt be ruled by a sectarian constitution that works by dividing Egyptians ... We want to live in a country of freedom, equality and citizenship, and we want to achieve the other goals of the revolution which were hindered after Islamists hijacked power.”
The primary objective of Friday’s protest was to pressure the civil forces into voting in favor of the latest constitution draft in the coming referendum, a constitution that obliterates human rights and freedoms, said John Talaat, the coordinator for Early Warning for Sectarianism.
"What law are they talking about? Islamists are far away from the teachings of the Islam, which calls for love, tolerance and acceptance of others,” said Abraham Lewis, a coordinator of a movement for the victims of abduction. He also condemned the raising non-Egyptian flags in Tahrir Square.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm