Update: Pro-Sharia protests ends peacefully after minor skirmishes

Update: Pro-Sharia protests ends peacefully after minor skirmishes

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Fri, 09/11/2012 - 20:59

The organizers of today’s pro-Sharia protest announced its end at 7 pm from their main stage on Tahrir Square.

Several Salafi groups and Jama’a al-Islamiya coordinated the demonstration to demand that Sharia be more stringently applied in the new constitution.

Several Salafi figures attended the protest, including Abo Yahia, the Salafi Shaikh who is accused of burning the Bible, and Salafi Shaikh Hazem Salah Abo Ismail, the former presidential hopeful. The day of protests ended peacefully despite some fistfights between revolutionary youth and participants earlier in the day.

Large numbers participated in the demonstrations. At its apex, three marches with thousands of protesters coming from Al-Tawhid Mosque in Ramses, Estiqama Mosque in Giza and Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque in Mohandiseen arrived in Tahrir Square in the mid-afternoon afternoon, joining thousands of Islamists already present to voice their support of Sharia.

The march from Tawhid Mosque alone included roughly 5,000.

The protesters attempted to form a human chain in Ramses Street. When they passed by Al-Gomhurriya newspaper headquarters, they pointed at the building and chanted: "Here are the liars."

Dozens members of Sharia Students the Application of the Islamic Sharia campaign came from Estiqama Mosque in Giza. The Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque  march also included Sharia Students members as well as dozens of Revolutionary Salafis Coalition members.

In Tahrir, a number of Jama’a al-Islamiya members and its political party have started distributing a statement titled "Sharia and Egypt are in danger."

 The statement mentioned that some liberals, seculars and leftists wanted to minimize Sharia in the new constitution as mere “decoration.” The statement demanded the application of Sharia to achieve human dignity and social justice.

The three marches arrived in the square shortly after the arrival of dozens of Sharia Students members marching from Asad Ibn al-Forat Mosque in Dokki.

The students chanted "Islam is coming," "The people want to apply God's Law," and "[Egypt is] Islamic in spite of the (constituent) assembly and seculars."

They raised banners reading their demands and white and black flags that read "No God but Allah." Some also held Egyptian and Saudi Arabian flags.

Altercations between the Dokki march protesters and anti-Muslim Brotherhood passersby briefly broke out on Mohamed Mahmoud street, when some observers began chanting against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsy.

The protesters asked their opponents to leave the street following the quarrel.

Thousands began gathering in Tahrir earlier this morning to demand a stricter application of Sharia in the new constitution, as well as the dismissal of the prosecutor general. Some are also calling on Morsy to push for the US to release Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, known as the blind sheikh.

Protesters in the square chanted: "Islam is coming under the rule of Qur'an," "No God but Allah, I want God's Law," "[Egypt is] Islamic, in spite of seculars," "Leave Abdel Meguid (the prosecutor general), we want a firmer prosecutor," "Oh lying media, God's Law is not terrorism," and "No retreat, no surrender, until the prosecutor general leaves."

Members of Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Construction and Development Party blocked entrances to Tahrir from Qasr al-Aini and Mohamed Mahmoud streets with iron bars.

Jama’a al-Islamiya leader Safwat Abdel Ghany told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Morsy should call for the application of Sharia as a representative of the Islamist parties and the revolution. Morsy must not allow liberal and secular forces to determine the fate of Sharia, he argued.

Members of the Ansar al-Sunnah and Sharia Students movements set up a stage on the Qasr al-Nil Bridge, hanging banners reading “Bread, freedom, Islamic Sharia” and “God’s Sharia is security, God’s Sharia is happiness and serenity.”

Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman’s family set up a symbolic stage on the pavement opposite the Egyptian Museum, raising banners calling on Morsy to fight for Abdel Rahman's release from prison in the US.

Some protesters formed human chains in the streets surrounding Tahrir, while others marched around downtown holding banners declaring their demands. Azhar students participated in the protest as well, carrying banners that demanded applying Sharia and the dismissal of the prosecutor general.

The protesters also began collecting signatures in the square for a petition demanding the application in Sharia in the constitution, distributing a statement reading: "I , the undersigned, accept adding a second clause to Article 2 stating that Sharia is the origin of the Constitution and that no article should overcome or contradict it."

The campaign was welcomed by participating Islamist movements.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm