Army reacts to video of military vehicle bearing religious slogan

Armed Forces spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Ali said legal action has been taken against the driver of an army vehicle that bore a sticker with a religious slogan.

Presenter Reem Maged aired a video Wednesday of an armed forces vehicle bearing a sticker that read "No god but Allah, Mohamed is the messenger of Allah" on Baladna Bel Masry talk show.

Ali said on his official Facebook page: "The instructions and regulations related to … the appearance of vehicles of the Armed Forces prohibit any stickers of any kind on the body of the vehicle. The photo the program aired may be correct, but expresses an individual act on thre part of the vehicle's driver, which necessitated taking legal action to hold him accountable for violating instructions and regulations.

"One vehicle's violation does not mean that there is a phenomenon that has spread among the Armed Forces or mean [we are] employing [Armed Forces vehicles] for political purposes."

Fears over the Islamisation of the state have grown in Egypt since Islamists swept the 2012 parliamentary elections.

However, some have come out to support an Islamist government and more religious freedoms.

Among them are police officers who have recently chosen to grow facial hair.

However, the interior minister responded in March by demoting 17 police officers for growing beards, stating this was in violation of ministry rules related to the proper appearance of an officer.

The officers alleged dozens of other policemen had been suspended for the same reason and the group filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, contending it violated their personal and religious freedoms.

On Wednesday, police officers asserting their right to grow facial hair received a victory, when the Supreme Administrative Court turned down the interior minister's challenge to a previous court ruling ordering the dismissed officers reinstated. 

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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