JAFFA, Israel – A top Islamic cleric has urged Egyptians not to give their customary Ramadan charity donations to President Abdel Fatah Sisi’s supporters.
Millions of people around the Muslim world follow the televised sermons of Sheikh Guneim, a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer. He was deported from Egypt on the orders of then President Hosni Mubarak, and has since moved from one Muslim country to the next, often clashing with the authorities.
Ramadan, starting next Sunday, is considered the holy month of charity, where Muslims believe good deeds are ten times more valuable in the eyes of Allah than any other day. This is why most Muslims prefer to save the custom of Zakat – charity giving – until Ramadan.
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. Literally meaning “purification,” believers do it to “purify” their income by donating 2.5 percent of their annual revenues to Islam and Muslims, mostly by assisting the poor.
In one of his recent sermons, Guneim said: “Don’t give your Zakat money to Sisi’s criminal, treacherous supporters. They can get theirs from Sisi. Don’t take our money and use it in a forbidden way. I call on Muslims to give their money to the families of the Mujahideen and the poor martyrs, rather than these treacherous criminals.”
Guneim’s remarks drew a lot of criticism as well as praise.
“Zakat money is given to the poor even if they’re not Muslim,” wrote Ammar.
“These criminals who finance the war on Islam cannot get our Zakat money,” wrote Shakar.
“The Sheikh is right. We’ve seen who killed and arrested and financed the war on Islam, who allied himself with the Jews and the Crusader Americans. I give my Zakat money only to true Muslims.”
“Don’t listen to the ruling of this crazy Muslim Brotherhood member,” Muhammed warned. “The Muslim Brotherhood are the enemies of the Sunnis.”
“I can’t believe the Muslim Brotherhood have sunk this low,” another wrote. “They are dogs who are blind to religion and know only their greed.”
Kassib retorted: “The Muslim Brotherhood are the lords of jihad and justice. You are the slaves of the Jews who rule Saudi Arabia. Thirty years of Mubarak rule, 60 years of Saudi Jewish rule, they are all collaborators of the Crusader Americans against the Muslims. I’m afraid your knowledge has been sunk in oil barrels.”
“Who are you to say what is allowed and what isn’t,” Said wrote. “God save us from the ignorant among us.”