Salafi leader: Whoever commits suicide ‘Tunisian style’ is apostate

Whoever tries to commit suicide "Tunisian style" to motivate Egyptians to revolt is a heretic, a Salafi group said on Tuesday.

Ahmed Youssef, secretary general of the Ansar al-Sunnah al-Mohamadiya movement, labelled whoever sets himself on fire, or commits suicide by any other method, as a heretic. "If he died, he would go to hell,” said Youssef.

Youssef told Al-Masry Al-Youm that those who commit suicide are committing a great sin through both killing themselves as well as motivating people to take action against those in charge.

“Egypt enjoys stability and security,” said Youssef, adding that what happened in Tunisia is “sectarianism that I hope won't reach Egypt. […]The situation here is not comparable with Tunisia. It’s much better here.”

The Ansar al-Sunnah movement was established in 1926 and is one of the largest Salafi groups in Egypt, boasting some 150 branches and 2000 mosques nationwide.

In 1969 the Egyptian government, in an attempt to restrict its activities, integrated the group within the officially-sanctioned Legitimate Association of People who Rule by the Book (Quran) and Sunnah.

According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information executive director Gamal Eid, the Ansar al-Sunnah movement in 2005 called on members to take a "pledge of allegiance" to President Hosni Mubarak and to proclaim the president “Prince of the Believers."

The same group issued another religious edict in December calling for murdering or killing reform proponent Mohamed ElBaradei, saying he was inciting civil unrest.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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