CAIRO: The Ministry of Solidarity decided to form a committee to investigate the validity of some NGO’s who allegedly perform Shiite practices, Youm 7 reported Wednesday.
The Egyptian population is estimated to be 90 percent Muslim, and the vast majority of its Muslims are Sunni. The Egyptian Penal code does not criminalize Shiite doctrine, but the NGO law of 2002 prohibits establishing unions or federations for religious purposes.
The head of the central administration of the NGO’s within the ministry, Khaled Sultan, told Youm 7 that the committee had been formed upon a decree from Minister Ghada Waly, and “in case we discovered that any NGO is performing or promoting Shiite Islam, either its board will be dissolved or the whole NGO will be dissolved after listening to the opinion of the NGO’s Federation.”
Last week, Youm 7 reported videos for Shiite practices being held in authorized NGO’s, which showed some members performing Shiite practices and speaking in Persian; it is widely believed by Egyptian authorities that Shiites are backed by Iran.
Egypt received Iraqi Prime Minister Hediar al-Abadi, a Shiite, in January 2014. Egyptian Priem Minister Ibrahim Mahlab stressed that there is a religious coordination between the Shiite institution Marja’ of Negev in Iraq and the Sunni institution of al-Azhar.
There are is no official data of the numbers of Shiite Egyptians. But press reports have estimated that they range between 50,000 to 80,000.
Following the January 25 Revolution, Shiite visibility has increased as some have pursued political parties, but Salafi groups have been vocal in opposition to Shiite groups, which they see as advocating blasphemy.
In June 2013, Hassan Shehata, a prominent Shiite leader, was killed by some a gang whom are believed to be Salafi oriented, or affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The investigations charged the accused group with mobbing and fatally beating the leader and three others in Giza, among street clashes preceding the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. The court is expected to release its verdict next month.