A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Giving the Call to Prayer in Parliament: Please Don't Tell the US House

A Salafi member of Egypt's People's Assembly stirred up a ruckus yesterday by risihng and giving the Muslim Call to Prayer right in the middle of the Parliamentary session. Deputy Madouh Ismsa‘il of the small Salafi Asala Party argued that Parliament should take prayer breaks at prayer time, and then proceeded to give the call on the floor of the House, prompting criticism from Speaker Sa‘ad Katatni, himself a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. [UPDATE: The Arabist adds that Isma‘il's the guy suing billionaire Naguib Sawiris for tweeting a cartoon of Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed as Salafis.]

It is, of course, on YouTube:

 Now, as an American I can't criticize other Parliaments since both houses of Congress tend to cater to the religious vote, not just by opening sessions with a prayer but by passing lots of strange resolutions. Lately, though, the Salafis have been pretty demonstrative, with the Nour Party having to apologize for remarks one of its MPs made on the floor, and with the Brotherhood increasingly seeming embarrassed by the antics of their Salafi fellow Islamists. The Brotherhood, so far, is hewing to its pledge to work with all parties, though many see it as too close to the military regime.

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