Sufi leaders call for a response to US demonstrations

Sufi skeikh’s and leaders are outraged after several American activists tore pages out of the Holy Quran in front of the White House Sunday. The demonstration came in light of a recent threat to burn the Quran on this year's anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, which was called off at the last minute.

The Sufi leaders called on their 15 million Egyptian disciples to set up protests in front of Al-Azhar and the US embassy. They also called for the boycott of all American products and for the US ambassador to be expelled from Egypt.

Sufi Council Head Sheikh Mohamed al-Shahawi called for protests in front of US embassies in all Islamic countries. He also called for a protest to be headed by Al-Azhar’s Grand Sheikh Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb and Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa in front of Cairo’s US embassy to protest the priest’s threat to burn the Quran and to demand that the US Government punish Jones and prevent anyone from offending Islamic sanctities.

Al-Shahawi called on the authorities to take a serious stance against the threat and to warn the US administration of the consequences of such action, saying it could lead to the spread of terrorism throughout the world.

“Followers of the Habibia order will not let the burning or tearing of parts of the Quran pass without incident and the order's followers in Egypt will respond aggressively,” Sheikh Abd al-Baqi al-Habibi of the Habibia Sufi order told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Sufi wives have also spoken out against the threat and said they would be participating in the protests. Nafisa Zakaria, a Sufi wife, said the Sufi sheikh’s wives will send a petition to Cairo’s US embassy protesting the US public's treatment of Muslims. She said the recent demonstrations in the US counter Obama’s promise to respect all religions, in particular Islam, during his speech in Cairo.

She also warned against the consequences if Al-Azhar’s Grand Sheikh and Islamic and human rights organizations do not defend the freedom of religion. She warned that such inaction will lead to widespread protesting, violence and sectarian strife.

Al-Ashraf Syndicate also condemned Jones’s threat. In a statement Tuesday it said, “This insane act will only fuel hatred between the followers of different religions.” The statement condemned the threat and said it indicated a deep hatred of Islam.

The syndicate’s current president, Mahmoud al-Sharif, said, “Tearing the Quran is a cowardly act.” He said it would create new worldwide tensions between Muslims and Christians and that there would be grave consequences for the United States. He also warned that protests and demonstrations will fill the streets if the US Government and other organizations do nothing to stop such incidents. Such actions may result in an economic boycott of the US, al-Sharif warned.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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