17 February 2018
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  •    - Bahrain
  •    - Iran
  •    - Iraq
  •    - Israel
  •    - Jordan
  •    - Kuwait
  •    - Lebanon
  •    - Oman
  •    - Palestine
  •    - Qatar
  •    - Saudi Arabia
  •    - Syria
  •    - Turkey
  •    - United Arab Emirates
  •    - Yemen
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • » 11/13/2012, 00.00


    Egyptian Salafist scholar calls for the destruction of "Pyramids and Sphinx"

    For Murgan Salem al-Gohary, pro-Taliban Salafist leader, they must go the way of the Buddhas of Bamyan (Afghanistan), which were blown up in March 2001. Egypt's tourist operators slam President Morsi and the authorities for doing nothing against the extremists. On Egypt Air, 250 stewardesses will wear the veil.

    Cairo (AsiaNews) - Egypt's tourist operators are afraid of Islamism and have attacked Murgan Salem al-Gohary,a Salafist Jihadist leader who during a TV programme, aired on privately owned Dream TV2 channel, proposed the destruction of Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx because they symbolise idolatry.

    The Salafist's statement follows dozens of threats made by Salafists against Egypt's artistic heritage and holiday resorts, which represent one of the main sources of employment in the country.

    Ihab El-Badry, leader of the Coalition to Support Tourism, said he would sue President Morsi, the prime minister and the ministers of tourism and monuments for doing nothing to control the Islamists.

    He added that such statements are having a devastating effect on Egypt's already struggling tourism industry.

    "International media picked up these statements up and this will negatively affect tourism and the Egyptian economy in general," El-Badry said, adding that tourists are now afraid to travel to Egypt.

    Known for his extremist positions, Murgan Salem al-Gohary spent time in jail under the Mubarak regime for his pro-Islamic terror activities.

    On TV, El-Gohary recounted proudly how he participated in the blowing up of the statues of the Buddhas of Bamyan in Afghanistan in 2001 with the Taliban. He explained that the statues and archaeological heritage of ancient Egypt could end up the same way.

    "All Muslims are charged with applying the teachings of Islam to remove such idols, as we did in Afghanistan when we destroyed the Buddha statues," he said. "God ordered Prophet Mohammed to destroy idols," he added.

    Al-Gohary's controversial comments came one day after a large Salafist rally in Tahrir Square in favour of the introduction of Sharia law, causing not only a row with the country's tourist operators, but also adding flue to the controversy between pro-democracy advocates and Islamists over the place of Islamic law in the new constitution.

    In the wake of Egypt's revolution, the ultraconservative Salafist al-Nour party has risen to become the second most influential force in parliament, behind the Muslim Brotherhood.

    According to Egyptian author Ahmed Osman, the Salafists sympathise with Al-Gohary's view, and have demanded that statues be destroyed or covered up to hide the parts that offend Islam.

    However, Al-Gohary's position is not shared by all Islamists. The vice president of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party, Sheikh Abdel Fattah Moro, said Al-Gohary's interpretation of Islam is wrong.

    "The Prophet destroyed the idols because people worshipped them", he said. "But the Sphinx and the Pyramids are not worshiped;" hence, there is no need to destroy them.

    Despite reassurances from the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties on keeping religion and politics apart, the former is gradually creeping into the country's institutions. Things once inconceivable are now more and more justified by the authorities.

    In November 2011 for example, the al-Nour Party covered up the mermaids that embellish the fountain of Zeus in the centre of Alexandria.

    Another example of the gradual Islamisation of Egyptian society is the recent decision taken by 250 Egypt Air stewardesses to wear the veil on board, like those working for the airline companies of Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

    Founded in 1932, Egypt's national carrier has never enforced the Muslim veil. Under Mubarak, it was a sort of taboo. (S.C.)

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    15/11/2012 EGYPT
    Young Egyptians against Salafists, warn "Visit the Pyramids before it is too late"
    Salafist al-Gohary's call for the destruction of the Pyramids generates huge internet response. Attacking the pyramids is tantamount to attacking the Egyptian people. Critics slam President Morsi's embarrassing silence, accuse him of defending Muslim extremists for electoral reasons.

    24/11/2010 EGYPT
    Islamists lay siege to Coptic church near pyramids
    The Egyptian Union of Human Rights calls for local government chief to be dismissed for fuelling interreligious tensions. Police forces surround church under construction, seizing four concrete mixing vehicles. Thousands of Copts surround the building to protect it.

    11/12/2010 EGYPT
    Protests over block on church of the Pyramids. "The government discriminates against Christians"
    168 Copts are still in jail (including 20 children) arrested during the demonstration on November 24 against the block on construction of the church opposed by radical Muslims. Appeal to Mubarak to punish those who authorized the use of weapons.

    07/12/2010 EGYPT
    Copts protest in Cairo demanding justice for the killed and freedom for the arrested
    A demonstration is underway after clashes left four unarmed protesters dead during a demonstration over a denied building permit for a church near the pyramids. Copts call for the resignation and prosecution of Giza’s governor and the security chief.

    25/11/2010 EGYPT
    Two Copts killed in the battle for the "church of the Pyramids"
    Thousands of Christian protesters surrounded the governorate in Giza to protest against the blockade of the construction of the only church in the area. Strong reaction of the security forces. Fundamentalist Muslims are opposed to the churches’ completion and put pressure on local authorities.

    Editor's choices

    The tears of Chinese bishops. A portrait of Msgr. Zhuang, bishop of Shantou

    Padre Pietro

    A priest of the official Church, recalls the 88 year old bishop that the Vatican wants to replace with an illegitimate bishop, to please the regime. Mons. Zhuang Jianjian became an underground bishop at the behest of the Vatican in 2006. Card. Zen and Msgr. Zhuang, image of the faithful Church, "which provokes an immense sadness and a sense of impotence". The hopes of card. Parolin to console "the past and present sufferings of Chinese Catholics".

    Card. Zen on the bishops of Shantou and Mindong

    Card. Joseph Zen

    The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong confirms the information published in recent days by AsiaNews and reveals details of his conversation with Pope Francis on these topics: "Do not create another Mindszenty case", the primate of Hungary whom the Vatican forced to leave the country, appointing a successor in Budapest, at the will of the communist government of the time. 


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSSRSS channel 


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®