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Egypt demolishes Sufi mosque as development projects expand

Egyptian authorities demolish Abu al-Ikhlas al-Zarqani Mosque in Alexandria on the grounds that it is blocking the construction of a business in the area. [Twitter]
Egyptian authorities demolish Abu al-Ikhlas al-Zarqani Mosque in Alexandria on the grounds that it is blocking the construction of a business in the area. [Twitter]

Egyptian authorities have enforced a presidential decree to demolish a Sufi mosque in Mahmoudiyah Road in Alexandria because it was allegedly built on state owned land without a license.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi complained that the Abu Al-Ikhlas Al-Zarqani Mosque was obstructing the five billion Egyptian pounds ($302 million) Mahmoudiyah corridor project development in Alexandria which will see the construction of four new bridges and a 6-8 lane road.

In a televised speech Al-Sisi sought to use religion to justify the decision: “Prophet Mohammed would not accept the suspension of the project just because people see the demolition of the mosque as unacceptable.”

Fourteen mosques along the Mahmoudiayah road have now been demolished.

READ: Bedouin in Marsa Matrouh protest Egypt confiscation of their land

Across the country houses, land and places of worship are being demolished for allegedly being illegally built on state-owned land.

Last week Bedouin in Marsa Matrouh staged a sit-in to protest the confiscation of their land along the coast, which they said was being sold to the UAE for development projects.

Egypt Independent reported that in January deputy of the chiefdom of Sufi movements Mohammed Foda reiterated his opposition to the demolition of the mosque, however, he has now accepted the decision. 

The Egyptian government takes harsh measures against people who oppose their expansion plans. On Sunday a leading activist from Warraq Island in Cairo, Nasser Aboul Enein, was detained at Cairo airport for 15 days on his way back from Hajj.

In June 2017 Al-Sisi claimed 50,000 people on Warraq Island had built houses on public land and demolished 700 buildings as part of their plans to redevelop the island. One person was killed and 19 injured as locals protested against the demolitions.

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