Egypt’s Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa condemned, on Friday, calls to protests in advance of the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution.
Gomaa described the planned protests as “suspicious and crimes […] against the nation”, during a Friday sermon in the northern governorate of Beheira.
Gomaa supported the Dar Al-Ifta statement that called the 25 January protests unlawful under the tenets of Islam, as they represent “an incitement to violence and terrorism that will support enemies of the state in activities forbidden by Islam”.
Gomaa condemned potential violent protests in press statements to the Middle East News Agency (MENA), calling protesters, “saboteurs, spoilers and advocates of sedition”.
In an appeal to national unity, Gomaa condemned protests as unpatriotic and worthy of punitive measures.
“Whoever carries a weapon against Egypt doesn’t deserve to be an Egyptian,” Gomaa said. “We warn of attempts to target the nation and to seek to dismantle it and we should all get united for the sake of our beloved country.”
Last month, in response to calls for renewed protests on 25 January, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi emphasised his commitment to submit to the political mandate of the Egyptian people, in order to prevent a national security crisis. “I came to rule by your own choice without obligation, why demand a new revolution on 25 January? Do you want to ruin this country and destroy the people?” Al-Sisi said.
Calls for protests on 25 January have been circulating on social media outlets, asking citizens to protests against current regime.
The National Alliance of the Islamic Sharia, a supporting group to the former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, called on its supporters to organise demonstrations on 25 January, saying that “the revolution that shook the pillars of military rule and overthrew its head is capable today of toppling the rest of its parts”.
Anti-government protests are expected to take place as planned on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution.