From the Editors
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Yasser Burhami, an outspoken Salafist leader, denies right of Coptic Christians to hold high political office in Egypt; calls for government to monitor women's attire and force tourists to abide by Islamic law.
One of Egypt's most prominent Salafist leaders has said he would only accept a Coptic Christian president of Egypt if the US, Britain and Israel accepted a Muslim president of their countries.
According to Yasser Burhami, head of the influential El-Dawa El-Salafiya (Salafist Call) group, Copts do not have the right to run for political office in Egypt.
He also said Salafists would not allow Egypt’s Baha’i community to hold religious festivals or mark their religion on National ID cards if they took power.
Speaking to journalist Hussein Abdel Ghani on El-Nahar channel Monday evening, Burhami also said a Salafist government would transform all banks into Islamic banks and prevent lenders from charging riba (interest), which is banned by Sharia law.
Burhami reiterated Salafists conditional support for a democratic transformation in the country.
“Salafists accept democracy according to Islamic rules as long as it is not incompatible with the demands of the people and of Islamic Sharia law,” Burhami said.
When asked about Salafist plans for Egypt’s tourism industry, Burhami said tourism need not violate Sharia law.
“Tourism is not all about nudity and alcohol,” Burhami said. “These things are rejected by Sharia law."
Burhami went on to argue that Egypt's tourist industry should follow in the footsteps of Turkey, another Muslim country, claiming that "male beaches there are segregated from female beaches and still attract Arab and foreign tourists.”
Burhami stressed Salafists would not force Egyptian women to wear the niqab and that Islamic clothing rules would not apply to Coptic women.
“But at the same time we won’t let them walk around naked,” says Burhami.
The Nour party, an offspring of the Salafist Call, has scored 20 per cent in the first round of the parliamentary elections in Egypt, and is poised to constitute, along with the first placed Muslim Brotherhood, a formidable Islamic bloc in the new parliament.
[Developed in partnership with Ahram Online.]
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