The Salafis of Egypt—those Muslims who strive to live according to the literal example of prophet Muhammad and his companions—are angry. But it’s not because groups like ISIS are “hijacking” their religion and committing atrocities in its name. Rather it’s because a sign by Egypt’s premiere Salafi party, the “Salafi Call,” appeared welcoming Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros during his recent visit to Matruh, in north Egypt.
In response, Salafis of all stripes, including on social media, demanded to know how the Salafi Call could do such a thing.
The Call’s vice president, Dr. Yasser Burhami, responded to these allegations during a lesson on Islam he gave. He said “they who did this announced their break from the Salafi Call after their disagreements with us” and do not represent the party: “Leaving the Call has weakened them to the point that they are obliged to welcome what they call the “holy pope.”
Burhami’s desire to distance the Salafi party from any signs of amicability with the head of the Coptic Christian church—a breach of one of Salafism’s most cherished doctrines, al-wala’ wa’l bara’—is unsurprising.
After all, Burhami is on record saying that although a Muslim man may marry non-Muslim women, specifically Christians and Jews, he must hate them—and show them that he hates them—because they are “infidels” (even as he enjoys them sexually); that Muslim cab and bus drivers should not transport Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as “more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar”; and that “Destroying churches is permissible—as long as the destruction does not bring harm to Muslims, such as false claims that Muslims are persecuting Christians, leading to [foreign] occupations.”