- Middle East/North Africa
Prominent Sheikh Hafez Salamah has said that military police raided the Nour Mosque in Abbasseya on Friday and entered the mosque with their shoes on, a sign of disrespect and a desecration of the mosque.
Salamah, who was once the leader of popular resistance in Suez during the Suez Crisis in 1956, said in a statement on Saturday that this (entering a mosque with shoes on) has never happened in the history of Egypt, except when Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces raided Al-Azhar Mosque during the French invasion of Egypt (1798-1801).
Salamah was born in 1925 in Suez and since 1948 he was an active resistance figure against foreign forces that waged war on Egypt. He is widely respected among a wide swath of Egyptians.
Salamah was in Cairo to participate in the demonstration against Egypt’s military rulers on Friday.
In his statement, which was published on several Facebook pages, Salamah said he is giving his testimony on what happened in Abbasseya.
On Friday, protesters against the country's military rulers clashed with troops at the Defense Ministry in Abbasseya, leaving one soldier dead and 373 people wounded. Later, the army imposed an overnight curfew on the area surrounding the ministry.
He said there were no armed men in the mosque and all those who were arrested were innocent people. He said 40 people were arrested, all of whom came to the mosque to perform afternoon prayers and were unarmed.
Salamah said that Hamdy Badeen, the leader of military police, entered the mosque and asked to search the mosque for armed men. Salamah said he told him, “This is illogical, for where could the armed men hide their weapons, under the carpets?”
According to Salamah’s statement, Badeen said he would not arrest people in the mosque, so he arrested people as they exited.