Egyptian preachers answer accusations

Egyptian preachers deny sanctioning killing of pro-Morsi protesters, Abdel-Gelil says "My words were distorted and taken out of context"

Egyptian preachers answer accusations

World Bulletin/News Desk

Two well-known Egyptian preachers have denied sanctioning security troops to kill supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, as understood from video segments prepared by the military’s Morale Affairs Department.

"I was alarmed by the number of phone calls from friends and loved ones who were surprised by a YouTube video of less than two minutes, through which I was misunderstood as having sanctioned the killing of Morsi supporters who protested against what happened after June 30," Salem Abdel-Gelil, a former undersecretary of the Religious Endowment Ministry and a popular TV preacher, said in a statement, in reference to the military overthrow of Morsi – a move described by his supporters as a military coup.

Abdel-Gelil appeared in a video segment made by the military’s Department of Moral Affairs and addressed to its rank and file.

"They say a military coup? What a coup? It's the will of the people. Those [who call it a coup] are calling for divisions, and they cannot be honorable Egyptians; they are aggressors and need to repent to God," he told the troops.

"The State should take against them all the necessary legal measures to counter their danger, and the Armed Forces need to protect their dignity and protect the nation's interests and citizens, even if they needed to use weapons," he went on to say.

"The Armed Force have a duty to protect, so if they were attacked, they are required – I would not say allowed, - they are required to defend themselves," Abdel-Gelil said.

It was unclear when the military filmed the segments or distributed them among the forces, but it was obvious the videos were produced ahead of the August 14 dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-in camps in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya and Giza's Nahda squares.

The video was uploaded online over the weekend and went viral with Morsi's supporters suggesting it was a license to kill.

Abdel-Gelil insisted he had been asked to feature in a 15-minute video to speak about the army's role in deterring aggressors attacking military facilities and checkpoints.

"My speech was not about protesters, it was an answer to a question about killing terrorists who attack security checkpoints and cannot be repelled except by killing," he said.

"My words were distorted and taken out of context."

Amr Khaled, also a popular TV preacher, for his part, tweeted that his video message to the troops was not to sanction the killing of Morsi sympathizers.

"I recorded a vide to support Egyptian troops as they guard a valuable part of Egypt, which is Sinai, and this is a patriotic role that I'm proud of," he said.

In the controversial video, Khaled told troops: "You are doing a holy mission by preserving Sinai's lands and keeping Egypt's united. Don't ever let anyone questions your faith.”

“When you wear this uniform and these boots, when you perform your military salute and when you stand up in your line, you’re not doing a job for a commander, you’re working for Allah now.”

Egypt has been suffering political violence since the army ousted Morsi on July 3 following mass protests against his presidency.

Since then, hundreds of pro-Morsi demonstrators have been killed and thousands injured countrywide by security forces.

Scores of police and army personnel have also been targeted in attacks on security installations and checkpoints.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ağustos 2013, 12:33