Egypt mufti denies discrimination, plays down Islamists

By REUTERS
November 23, 2011 00:39

 
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Egypt's highest Islamic legal official denied on Tuesday that minority Christians faced sectarian discrimination and said Islamists would win no more than 20 percent of votes in next week's election.

Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said Egypt had done its best to abolish discrimination against Copts, who make up 10 percent of Egypt's roughly 80 million population, but a small minority of radical salafist Islamists were causing trouble.

Coptic leaders accuse the army of not protecting them against salafist attacks and cracking down more harshly on their protests than others. About 25 died last month when army trucks charged a mostly Coptic protest in Cairo.

"There is no real problem," said Gomaa, Egypt's second-highest Islamic official, whose office oversees the issuing of fatwas, or religious decrees, on application of Muslim law.

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