Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - Social tension and the risk of sectarian conflict have recently occurred in the Egyptian city of Damietta, since the imam of a mosque in the port city, addressed to the faithful Muslims, issued a fatwa, containing the prohibition of direct greetings and messages of congratulations to Christians on the occasion of the Solemnity of Christmas. Precisely for this reason - inform Egyptian sources such as the Copts United site - the same imam is under investigation on behalf of Awaqf, the Ministry for Religious facilities (Waqf), which also has functions of monitoring the activities of mosques.
In the last year (see Fides 24/06/2015), the Egyptian Waqf has increased monitoring initiatives in bookstores and libraries of mosques throughout Egypt, to withdraw all books and materials of extremist and fundamentalist propaganda from the circulation which had been widely disseminated especially at the time of the government led by the Muslim Brotherhood.
On the eve of last Easter, celebrated by the Copts in Egypt on 12 January (see Fides 10/01/2015), certain public statements of recognized Salafis Islamic leaders had sought to set aside the recurring controversy in Islamic environment with regards to the lawfulness to address messages of good wishes to Christians on the occasion of their liturgical solemnities. In particular, the Salafist preacher Osama Qusi stressed that no rules and Islamic prescription forbids Muslims to congratulate Christians, and therefore all the fatwas that claim to prohibit such practices must be considered as invalid. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 11/01/2016)