Despite the Cabinet's ban on using political slogans in areas where Eid al-Adha prayers would be performed, political campaigning was abundant during and after Friday prayers.
The Muslim Brotherhood organized mass rallies in squares across Cairo after the prayer to provide information about the draft constitution that will soon be up for referendum, said Karem Radwan, a member of the MB Shura Council.
Meanwhile, the Salafi-oriented Nour Party, Jama'a al-Islamiya and the Hazemoon movement all held speeches after the prayers to disseminate their opinion on the role of Sharia in the constitution.
Meanwhile, Eid al-Adha prayers at Al-Azhar Mosque witnessed the presence of a large number of party members and various political forces. Chief among them were the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Constitution Party, whose members distributed leaflets to publicize their respective parties.
Members of the Popular Current were also there to urge people to reject the constitution draft.
In his sermon, the preacher at Al-Azhar Mosque stressed the need to sacrifice for the religion of Islam so that it wouldn't be insulted again. He also condemned the killing of Egyptian soldiers in Sinai in the name of religion.
At Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque in Mohandiseen, thousands attended the Eid al-Adha prayers amid heavy security presence. Several FJP supporters were in attendance. They distributed leaflets advertising the party, and set up a stage for children to chant slogans praising the party and its leading members, including deputy supreme guide Khairat al-Shater.
Constitution Party supporters were also at the mosque to set up a puppet show for children and distribute leaflets advertising the party.
Egyptian Democratic Party members distributed t-shirts with their party’s slogan, while the Wafd Party hung up holiday-themed banners.
Mohamed Mahsoub, minister of legal and parliamentary affairs, criticized the use of Eid prayers for political ends on his Twitter. "Many speak of the principles of democracy, and the need to refrain from using religious occasions and places of worship for party ends, but few respect these principles," he wrote.
Islamic forces, on the other hand, criticized the Cabinet’s decision to ban political slogans around mosques today.
“It’s not right to separate religion from politics, because they are intertwined matters. We still live in the backwards era that does not see political affairs in their evolving form, which must not be separated from other affairs, whether they are economic or social,” Radwan stated.
Mohamed Ibrahim Mansour, a member of the High Commission for the Nour Party, said, “There is no justification for the ban of political banners for a particular party to express their view on an issue of interest to people.”
Osama Hafez, a member of Jama'a al-Islamiya’s Shura Council, also rejected the government's decision.
He stated that such a ban never happened in the era of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
Hafez added that his party would continue to educate worshipers on the constitution, and urge them to support the application of Sharia in the new constitution.
Gamal Saber, a leading member of Hazemoon movement, said that the Cabinet’s ban was worthless, and that the movement will call on people to reject the constitution in prayer areas regardless of the ban.
He explained that the movement cannot live in isolation from the political scene in the current climate, which has seen major threats to Sharia.
Saber added that after the Eid prayer, rallies and lectures would be held on the importance of applying the law of God to all areas of life.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm