Anniversary of Mubarak’s Ouster, New Grand Mufti Selected
Today marks the second anniversary of former President Hosni Mubarak‘s resignation. Protesters, upset with the current government’s lack of progress and using the anniversary to express their anger, blocked trains and traffic and gathered outside of government buildings. In addition, protest marches are set to begin around the capital this evening toward Tahrir Square where participants will demand that President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood follow through with the promises they made and fulfill the goals of the revolution. The Egyptian security force, heavily criticized for recent abuses, has increased their presence around prominent protest locations like Tahrir and the Presidential Palace.
Meanwhile, Muslim clerics from al-Azhar selected the next Grand Mufti of Egypt today. A secret ballot within the 24-member Senior Scholars Authority produced a vote that resulted in Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim, a professor in Islamic jurisprudence, becoming Egypt’s next top Islamic jurist. Previous Grand Muftis have been selected by the president, but after Mubarak fell two years ago the military gave the power to Al-Azhar. Abdel-Karim’s new duties will include ratifying court-ruled death sentences, announcing the dates of the months based on the lunar calendar, providing his opinion on government policy, and issuing religious edicts known as fatwas.
In other news, Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered the arrest of a Muslim cleric who condemned to death the leaders of Egypt’s political opposition parties. Salafi Muslim cleric Mahmoud Shaaban called for the death of National Salvation Front politicians, specifically referencing Mohamed ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabahy. In response, Shaaban was arrested and “will be detained for questioning over charges that he incited the death of leaders of the NSF,” reports MENA news agency.