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The ultra-conservative Salafi Nour Party is funding a sort of religious police, known as the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Authority, according to the authority’s founders. The party has denied involvement in its formation.
The authority takes after the Saudi model of “mutaween,” a sort of religious police composed of volunteers that enforce Islamic Sharia law. Armed with thin wooden canes, the groups roam the streets enforcing dress codes, separation between the sexes, prayer, and other behavior believed to be commanded by Islam. The Taliban in Afghanistan are also known to have used the system.
The authoritywas launched on Facebook by Nour Party members. According to the founders, the Salafi party gave them check of LE2600 as a preliminary installment to help them launch the initiative and mobilize Salafi volunteers.
In a statement on Wednesday, the authority said it was formed upon directives from the party’s leadership, and that the party’s members unanimously approved the idea.
The founders threatened to resign from the party and manage the authority on their own if the party continued to deny its affiliation with it.
In a separate statement, the authority said it held its first meeting on Tuesday to determine the tasks and geographical jurisdictions of the first volunteers, who would monitor people’s behavior in the street and assess whether it contradicted the God’s laws.
The statement also said that the volunteers would wear white cloaks and hold bamboo canes to beat violators. Later, they would be provided with electric taser guns.
Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakar denied any relation with this group. “Let them show us that check if they can,” he said.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm