- Middle East/North Africa
The majority of Sufis in Alexandria support Ahmed Shafiq in the presidential runoff elections scheduled for 16 and 17 June, said a prominent sheikh on Wednesday.
“Shafiq is the best candidate to implement democracy and establish a civil state in which Copts and Muslims are equal, as advocated by Prophet Mohamed,” said Sheikh Gaber Kasem al-Kholy, the highest-ranking Sufi sheikh in Alexandria.
Adherents of Sufism, a mystical sect of Islam that has long been popular in Egypt, are estimated to be around half a million in Alexandria, out of a total population of roughly 4.1 million.
Following the revolution, around 20 historic mosques belonging to Sufis were targeted by members of the Salafi movement, who attempted to demolish tombs of important Islamic scholars because they oppose the veneration of saints as heretical.
"Sufis believe in freedom of choice,” Kholy added, noting that Shafiq won 212,000 votes in Alexandria in the first round, most of which came from Sufis.