Salafi sheikh acquitted of disdaining Christianity

03-09-2014 01:09 PM

Nader Shukry

Category: Coptic affairs > Sectarian
HP: sectarian scroll

Sheikh Yasser Burhami, Vice Prsident of the al-Daawa al-Salafiya (The Salafi Call), was acquitted by a Cairo court of disdaining Christianity. The case had been taken to court by the Coptic lawyer Naguib Gabrail, head of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights. Gabrail alleged that Sheikh Burhami disdained Christianity and went against the Constitution when he dubbed Christians as apostates. The Salafi Sheikh had issued a fatwa (Islamic legal opinion) that it was sinful for a Muslim to wish a Christian a happy [religious] feast or occasion. He called the feast of the Resurrection the “most apostate” of Christian feasts. On a talk show aired on MBC satellite channel, Sheikh Burhami also said that Islam does not condone that a non-Muslim should be in a position of power over Muslims in a Muslim State.

In court, Sheikh Burhami denied having disdained Christianity or gone against the Constitution; he insisted that what he had said was in perfect agreement with the Qur’an and Sunna (the behaviour of the Prophet Muhammad who is taken as a role model by Muslims).
Islam, he says, honours Christ as a prophet and the Bible as a holy book. However, he said, the word ‘apostate’ was used in Qur’an and by the Prophet Muhammad to describe non Muslims, and can thus be considered as ‘no disdain’ of Christians. He defended his declarations regarding the illegitimacy of a non-Muslim holding power in a Muslim State, by saying that this is a well established principle supported by all Muslim scholars. Egypt’s Constitution in its second article stipulates that Islam is the religion of the State and Islamic sharia the main source of legislation. This implicitly means that the President must be Muslim, he said.

Watani International
3 September 2014

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