Salafi anti-democracy flyers handed out around Cairo

Flyers calling on citizens to join the Salafi movement and denouncing democracy were witnessed being passed out to citizens in Cairo just days after the Salafi movement announced its intention of becoming involved in the political arena.

The flyers warn against the dangers of backing away from a religious state and resorting to systems based on democracy or liberalism, which according to the flyers would be a step in the wrong direction and one that would lead to transgression of religious prohibitions.

According to one of the flyers, the values of democracy violate the law of God. Further, democracy "allows the people to govern themselves even if they are violating the rule of God." The flyer, titled "Be a Salfi" called on citizens to reject all voices advocating for a civil state, as such a state would mean the separation of religion from general life and people being governed without the law of God.

The flyer added that the civil state "equates between citizens in their rights and duties, even if God has created differences in them." In the flyer, liberalism is described as “making man his own God” and as being “governed by that which is not God’s law.” The flyer also calls on citizens to spread these ideas and to return to the Quran and the Sunnah.

Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor at Cairo University, said the content of these flyers "is expected from some Salafist groups, whose members reject anyone different to them."

He went on to say, "It is the state’s duty to criminalize such practices, which interfere with every citizen’s freedom of expression and belief. The fear is that such practices could influence those with limited intelligence, who could then be exploited in supporting and promoting these ideas."

The Salafi movement considers democracy a Western system of government and generally does not accept the appointment of women or non-Muslims to leadership positions.

Salafis adopt a literal interpretation of religious texts, and therefore do not see parliament as the legitimate source of legislation, nor the people as the source of authority.

The Salafi movement's relationship with the ousted regime was vague. While former President Hosni Mubarak's regime imposed heavy restrictions on their organizational activity, it allowed some prominent Salafi figures to run mosques and also allowed Salafis to protest against the Coptic Church.

Some observers say the regime used the Salafis to weaken the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which advocates participation in politics.

The Salafis refused to participate in the 25 January Revolution but later acknowledged its legitimacy because of pressure from younger members, some of whom took part in the revolution.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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