Islamists vie for Eid prayer areas

The Islamic Endowments Ministry will be providing security for nearly 3000 open areas for prayers on the first day of Eid, which is expected to begin on Wednesday, said Islamic Endowments Minister Mohamed Abdel Fadil al-Qousy on Sunday.

Performing Eid prayers in open areas is common in Egypt, and such events are usually arranged by religious groups. This year, Islamist groups around the country are competing over areas in which they will pray.

"There is no problem if Islamist groups nationwide want to seek other open areas [to pray in] that they consider to be safe," Qousy added.

Qousy said Eid sermons will be dominated by the spirit of the 25 January revolution, and urged Muslims to unite and support other revolts in the Arab world that are also seeking democracy and freedom.

A ministry source said competition over prayer areas among religious groups has already started in various governorates, and has become especially pronounced with security forces no longer unilaterally dictating where each group can pray.

In Alexandria, some potential prayer areas are being contested by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi groups. They have been trying to spread their messages by distributing presents at mosques.

This Eid marks an important milestone for the Brotherhood, whose members are now able to announce their intention to appear at prayer areas without fear of persecution by security forces.

Salafis have announced the names of the preachers they want to deliver Eid sermons after specifying the 42 areas where they will pray in Alexandria. The proposed names include Abdel Moneim al-Shaht, Yasser al-Borhami and Hazem Shoman.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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