Socialist MP apologizes for remarks on Salafi sheikh

Egyptian Social Democratic Party MP Ziad al-Elaimy apologized on Sunday to prominent Salafi preacher Mohamed Hassan for remarks he made about the sheikh’s campaign to abolish US aid.

Elaimy, along with other parliamentarians, visited Hassan in his office at the religious satellite channel Al-Rahma headquarters in 6th of October City.

Elaimy stressed to Hassan that he did not mean to insult him and only said the government should give to the poor instead of urging them to collect funds. Hassan said he had not heard of Elaimy’s remarks.

“No problem, you are like a brother to me,” Hassan told the MP.

 Elaimy told Coptic satellite channel CTV on Saturday that Hassan is no cleric but merely a mass information graduate.

“Growing a beard does not necessarily make you a sheikh,” Elaimy told the channel. He said the state should spend on citizens instead of burdening them. Other Egyptian news outlets reported his remarks.

Hassan had launched a fundraising campaign to support the economy in response to US threats to halt aid over Egypt’s prosecution of workers from local and foreign NGOs on suspicion of illegal funding.

Hassan’s initiative gained support from Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri and Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb.

Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted a Central Bank of Egypt official on Sunday who said Hassan’s fund managed to collect LE60 million in two days alone.

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