A Muslim Brotherhood sermon against participating in upcoming anti-government protests led to an altercation outside a mosque in a town in Sharqiya on Tuesday night. Over 16 people were injured according to an FJP media officer.
Ahmed Ragab, member of the Al-Dostour Party’s high board in Sharqiya, said Brotherhood mufti Abdelrahman Al-Barr gave a sermon at Helmy Mosque in Ibrahimiya in which he stated that those who protest on 30 June are against Islam. People in the vicinity took issue and surrounded the mosque in protest. In response, people inside the mosque barricaded the doors to protect Al-Barr. Ragab said security forces eventually arrived to escort Al-Barr from the mosque and disperse the crowd.
Ragab said: “People are used to this sort of incitement against the protesters when it’s at a national level, but when it takes place inside towns, then you’re inciting violence between the townspeople.”
The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) media officer in Sharqiya, Ahmed Gaber, presented a different account.
Gaber alleged approximately 300 “thugs”, some armed with shotguns, attacked the mosque. Gaber added that after they attacked the mosque the assailants looted a nearby Muslim Brotherhood office and set fire to several houses of Brotherhood members. Gaber said the attacks continued until the early morning.
“The entire city was incited to come and slaughter the ‘livestock’ in the mosque,” stated Gaber.
Gaber said the violence began before Al-Barr gave his sermon, and accused members of the dissolved National Democratic Party of being responsible.
He added: “This attack could not possibly have anything to do with the opposition. This isn’t politics, this is criminal.”
More than 16 people were injured, according to Gaber, including one person left in a coma, and an FJP member who was stabbed.
Director of Security in Sharqiya, Mohamad Galal, said about 500 Muslim Brotherhood members had attended the sermon and about 2000 locals surrounded the mosque. He said that they used tear gas to disperse the crowd, causing minor injuries.
Galal denied the Muslim Brotherhood office was attacked. “Some tires were set on fire in front of the [Brotherhood] office, but I received no complaints of robbery or breaking in,” he said.