Salafi sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail described statements made Sunday by Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as “severely offensive.”
This came hours after Sisi said that the army would intervene if necessary to prevent the collapse of the state during the 30 June protests, to be staged by the opposition against President Mohamed Morsy.
The protests will mark the first anniversary of Morsy’s election. The opposition is demanding that Morsy step down and that early presidential elections be held, while Islamist groups supporting the president have warned the opposition against protesting.
The Defense Minister, in a seminar organized by the armed forces on Sunday, said that “there are societal divisions that are threatening the state,” and added that the Army “will not stand by and watch the country slide into chaos.”
In retort, Abu Ismail, on his official Facebook page on Monday, said that “Sisi’s remarks are a prelude to a coup, something that nobody with dignity and respect can accept.”
“There should be a way to deter him from such transgressions, which are unprecedented in the history of Egypt,” he added.
Abu Ismail has stirred the anger of the leadership of the Armed Forces before, such as when he attacked Sisi’s speech during a ceremony celebrating the liberation of Sinai last April. Abu Ismail mocked Sisi’s speech during the celebration, saying, “He played the role of a romantic actor so that the public would be enamored wih the army and seek to rely on it in the future.”
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm