CAIRO: Egyptian Shiite leaders have voiced their denial to “rumors” that a Shiite activist was killed in Egypt in a “sectarian strife” incident, Youm7 reported Saturday.
Reda Amer el-Naqawy, an Egyptian Shiite activist, was reportedly killed by “a group of Wahhabis and Takfiris” in Egypt’s Delta in a “heinous crime,” said Shiawaves Arabic Youtube Channel on Wednesday.
Wahhabi is derived from Wahhabism which is a religious movement of Sunni Islam, initially founded in Saudi Arabia. The movement has been criticized for being “ultraconservative” and some critics blamed it for leading to a wave of religious extremism.
The channel claimed that El-Naqawy was attacked by “knives and swords in his home.” El-Naqawy’s death was poorly covered by local media, and the details of his killing have not been announced yet by his family.
Ahmed el-Nafees, a leading Egyptian Shiite, denied El-Naqawy died in a sectarian attack, saying “these are just rumors.” In statements to Youm7, El-Nafees said that he contacted “sources close to El-Naqawy” who assured that the death was due to a “criminal incident, and not related to religion.”
Another Shiite Leader El-Sayed el-Hashimy told Youm7 that “family disputes” might be behind the El-Naqawy’s death.
According to the Shiite YouTube channel, El-Naqawy has declared himself as a Shiite by the end of 80s when he was a preacher in Berlin, and that he is the brother of a Germany-based religious scholar named El-Sayed el-Sestany.
“Concerned [people] called on President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s government to beat with an iron fist on the heads of these criminals and murderers, and to purge Egypt’s land from their filth,” said a broadcaster in the channel.
In June, a Cairo court sentenced 23 people to 14 years in prison over 2013 mob killing of four Shiite Muslims, including a Shiite leader named Hassan Shehata. At that time, the incident was described as virtually “unprecedented” violence between Sunnis and Shiites in Egypt; the case was met with a great deal of public inflammation.
A strong backlash from politicians and the media had hit the then-regime of former President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood group over “dividing Egyptians” and provoking “sectarian fights through hate speech.”
Additional reporting by Kamel Kamel and Ahmed Arafa