Cairo- Authoritative forces in Egypt raised the bar on security measures for the upcoming days, to ward off any possible clashes between Salafists, Shiites, and Sufis during the cultural celebrations of the “Mawlid Al-Hussein”. The festivity commemorates the birth of the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s (Pbuh) grandson.
A ministerial official, associated with the Awqaf of Egypt, stated that the ministry will be resorting to closing down the shrine of “Al-Hussein Mosque”, situated at the center of Cairo, in a measure taken for curbing any Shiite rites being carried out inside the shrine or around its premises.
Moreover, members of Al-Nour Party and the Salafist Call organization have requested the deputies at the House of Representatives to prevent any Shiite rites inside “Al-Hussein Mosque”.
However, Shiite figureheads announced that they would visit to the mosque wearing their traditional Fatimid green bands, in a clear defiance to all Salafist threats to resort to force. All indicators add up to a potential brawl looming ahead the celebrations.
On the other hand, Shiite sources confirmed that they will be peacefully visiting the shrine/mosque throughout the period of the celebrations and will not be confronting anyone.
Dr. Ahmed Rasim al-Nafis, a Shiite leader told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Salafist threat against Shiites has lost its previous effect, and that the Shiites have grown indifferent to their intimidations and obscenity. Dr. Al-Nafis asserted that the Shiite crowd will not hold back their visit to “Al-Hussein Mosque” at any given time of the year.
Statistics have yet not pinpointed the exact numbers of Shiites in Egypt; however, they are estimated to be somewhere around three million people.
Alternatively, unofficial sources indicate that they do not exceed an eighteen thousand figure, and that the statistics are hindered due to people’s fear of announcing their belonging to the Shiite sect, and tending to practice their faith secretly without disclosing it.