“When there is a decision to change the governor to a civilian Muslim, we will end the strike and life will return to normal,” said Sheikh Qureishi Salama, the imam of the local mosque. Salafis protested for the resignation of the Coptic governor, fearful that he will not properly implement Islamic law, Al Aribya reports.
By Dina Al-Shibeeb
4/19/2011 Egypt (Al Aribya) – Islamists in southern Egypt are continuing their protests against the appointment of a Coptic Christian as governor, and have vowed not to stop until he was removed from office, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
The ultraconservative Salafis began their protest on Friday in Qena against the new governor, Emad Shehata Michael, who, they fear will not properly implement Islamic law.
Attempts by the newly appointed interior minister, Mansour El-Eissawy, who hails from the same region, did not halt the protests by the Salafis who sat on train tracks, took over government buildings and blocked main roads in the southern city of Qena.
Mr. Michael’s predecessor was also a Christian and a former police general, but he was appointed by former President Hosni Mubarak and was largely disliked for his alleged incompetence, enabling the Salafis to draw on local dissatisfaction in their current campaign, reported AP.
“They started out by camping at the local government’s office then they set up a tent on the railroad tracks,” local resident Wafy Nasr told AP. “They also tried to block the road and stopped buses to separate men and women passengers.”
Mr. Nasr said tensions were so high that Christian residents had to stay indoors and couldn’t go to church to celebrate Palm Sunday.
“This won’t work. A Copt won’t implement Islamic law,” a speaker told a crowd at Qena’s government office, as seen on a YouTube video.
Salafis believe only a Muslim can be governor in the country that cites Islam as its primary source of legislation.
“When there is a decision to change the governor to a civilian Muslim, we will end the strike and life will return to normal,” said Sheikh Qureishi Salama, the imam of the local mosque as he questioned why their impoverished province kept getting Christian governors.