Egypt’s grand mufti faces hostile reception in South Africa
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 23 September 2016| 21 Zhul Hijjah 1437
Egypt’s grand mufti Dr. Shawqi Allam has been discouraged from visiting South Africa where a large number of Muslims are bitter about his role in supporting the death sentence of deposed Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi.
Mufti Allam has faced widespread criticism since June when he endorsed the death sentence of Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president who was ousted in a 2013 military coup.
The religious leader is travelling to South Africa along with his delegation in coming days but the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) of South Africa has excused itself from entertaining his visit.
MJC is one of the oldest religious organisations in South Africa with a large following.
In a letter to the Egyptian Embassy, the MJC said the objective of Mufti Allam’s “peace mission” has been diluted after he signed the death warrants of Egyptian citizens including Morsi.
In Egypt, all death sentences have to be approved by the Grand Mufti, the leading religious authority to give final opinion to government on such cases.
“We fear that South African liberation movements in our country would strongly oppose and protest the visit of the Mufti and his delegation, and could potentially escalate into adverse cMJC’s concern is not misplaced since people from different walks of life have opposed Mufti Allam’s visit.
Dr. Aayesha J. Soni, vice chairperson of Media Review Network, a Johannesburg-based Muslim advocacy group, said Allam will face hostile reception if he visits.
This is not the first time popular unrest has surfaced in South Africa against Egyptian leaders seen as human rights violators.
Just last year Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had to cancel a trip to Johannesburg after a group of South African lawyers filed a request for his arrest.
Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, came to power in 2012, following the end of Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year rule over Egypt.
In little over a year he was removed in a military coup which is believed to have been orchestrated by Sisi.
He was charged and subsequently sentenced to death in multiple cases including the one involving his escape from a prison.
Thousands of his supporters have been jailed and many killed in a crackdown.
Morsi’s trial drew scrutiny from human rights organisations which see it as politically motivated.
“These entire legal proceedings have been a mockery of justice and the death sentences must be thrown out,” according to Amnesty International.
Source – TrtWorld