Eid prayers: excellent for political campaigning

15-12-2011 09:26 AM

Ashraf Misbah


WATANI International
7 November 2011
This year##s Eid al-Adha (Sacrificial Feast) was different for the people in Kafr al-Sheikh governorate, in the Delta. They held the Eid dawn prayers in some 250 sites throughout the governorate, especially fitted to accommodate large crowds of worshippers. The preparations were made by the Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood (MB).
Kafr al-Sheikh governor, Ahmed Zaki Abdeen, along with more than 60,000 worshippers, joined in prayer in the town stadium. After prayers, both the Salafis and the MB competed for the attention of the worshippers and their families to emphasise their presence and propagate their political platforms. 
The Salafis held religious contests; and handed out Eid gifts—mainly toys for children, copies of the Qur’an and religious books, and brochures of fatwas—as well as prizes, and cultural and religious printed information. They circulated leaflets with the  photographs and political propaganda of their candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections, raising large, eye-catching banners. 
Propaganda by candidates of secular and liberal agendas or parties was entirely absent.
SMSs were sent to people to wish them a happy Eid. These massages included warnings to the ruling Miltary Council that, should it attempt to thwart of the [Islamist] Revolution, “there will be a thousand consequent revolutions”. And to the Jews, a message was relayed: “Watch out, the Muslims are coming.”
The MB’s activity featured fun and entertainment. An aragoze (folk puppet show) was there to criticise irregularities that usually take place during elections, and unfulfilled electoral promises. There were invitations to join the MB and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party.
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