Egyptian Court Permanently Bans Jewish Celebration For “Moral Offenses”

ShowImage.ashxAn Egyptian court has permanently banned the three-day festival celebrating the birth of Rabbi Jacob Abu Hasira in Egypt’s Nile Delta region of Buheira. The judge cited unspecified “moral offenses” as the reason for the ban. It is the latest example of Egypt’s devolution from a secular to a sectarian legal system. While the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohammed Morsi were ousted in 2013 after pushing the country toward an Islamic, sharia-based system, the country still has seen the steady erosion of secular values and the separation of religion and state.

Jews have come to Egypt to the 19th century tomb to celebrate the Rabbi’s birth since 1979 when the peace deal with Israel permitted such exchanges.

Notably, the court not only banned the celebration for immorality but called for the government to reverse the 2001 recognition of the festival by state tourism officials and to remove the tomb in Egypt’s Nile Delta region of Buheira from a list of recognized shrines. That sounds more like a religious than a legal decision by an anti-Semitic judge.

The Rabbi was actually born in Morocco but, in 1879, he left on a pilgrimage to Israel via Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. While passing through the Egyptian Nile Delta city of Damanhour, he grew ill and died.

Of course, the same Muslims celebrating this prejudiced decision would be outraged by any limitation placed on an Islamic shrine or celebration. The decision is a troubling example of how Egypt continues to struggle not only with the concept of freedom of religion but also with the basic principles of a professional and fair legal system.

Source: Al Arabiya

18 thoughts on “Egyptian Court Permanently Bans Jewish Celebration For “Moral Offenses””

  1. There’s something to be said for letting them all kill each other. Israel would have to have protection by everyone else. There are millions of people in how many refugee camps now? I think there’s a new one taking in the people forced out of their homes by ISIS. How many people are surviving without electricity, water, not forgetting food.

    Relocating Arafat shrine is asking for it. Maybe Israel should have kept bombing. That Palestine will ever be a country is crazy. They keep destroying themselves. Egypt is still destroying tunnels. Our money should go with requirements.

    Ynet Published: 11.10.14, 15:03 / Israel News

    “President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Monday that the shrine of late president Yasser Arafat will be moved to Jerusalem “the capital of Palestine” at the earliest opportunity, the Ma’an News Agency reported.”

    “…, on Sunday, the Fatah movement said the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the death of Arafat in Gaza would be canceled, Ma’an reported. The ceremony was scheduled to occur on Tuesdy and would have been the first commemoration of Arafat’s death allowed in the Strip since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.”

    Meanwhile, Fatah said on Saturday that despite a series of bomb attacks targeting Fatah members in Gaza, it would continue preparations for the event.

    All Palestinian factions were to take part in the celebrations for the late Palestinian leader, who fell into a coma and died of on November 11, 2004.

    Early Friday, explosions targeted the homes of several Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip.

    Fatah said the attacks “aimed to sabotage the commemoration of the anniversary of Arafat’s death,” and some Fatah officials blamed Hamas for the attacks.
    Hamas denied responsibility and condemned the incident, calling it a “criminal act.”

    Politics is War by other means…might be as appropriate a statement for the Middle East as much as the original one by Carl von Clausewitz. Ot perhaps, in this case, we might say that Religion is politics by means of war.

  3. While there are obviously moderate voices and minds, it is not possible to say that the “radical” or “extremist” Muslim attitude is the “only” fanatical ideas that threaten a secular and democratic respect for religious rights. Witness this document (but please,…understand that this is a reactionary not necessarily an entire people pushing this kind of distorted thinking)….

    Here’s the material in question:

    This is a direct quote from an obviously right wing reactionary author in a book titled:
    Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
    [ Israeli Empire ]

    “Israel can offer Jerusalem’s Islamic shrines to non-Arab but Muslim Bangladesh or Pakistan or Mali to foment inter-ethnic discord among Muslims and weaken their anti-Israeli unity. If these Islamic countries accepted such a Trojan horse, other Muslims could not object on religious grounds, nor could they dispute Israeli trickery. Other possibilities include Israel turning the Muslim shrines over to the Saudi ulema to set the conservative, state-aligned religious bureaucracy against the radical Islamic clergy. Egypt is not acceptable, since Israel does not want Egyptian involvement in Jerusalem; Israel prefers a weak partner. In any case, Israel should not transfer the Islamic landmarks in Jerusalem to Palestine, which would stir up anti-Israeli religious feelings in secular Palestinian society and validate the Israel-hating Palestinians as the keepers of the Islamic holy places.”

  4. ISSUES:
    Heavy security at contested Jerusalem shrine…
    “Mohammed blamed tensions on what he said were unfair access restrictions for Muslims at a time of a growing Jewish presence at the mosque compound.”
    “At the same time, the number of Jewish visitors to the site has increased over the years, raising fears among Muslims that this is part of a gradual Jewish takeover.”
    Israel clampdown at shrine fuels Muslim fears
    Associated Press
    By KARIN LAUB November 7, 2014 2:42 PM

  5. “It is very easy to ignite a religious fire, but much harder to extinguish it,”
    (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu November 2, 2014)

  6. Pray that the Pharaohs come back. East of Corfu the Ten Commandments Don’t Apply. Fly over and flush. Twice on Sunday.

  7. Oh boy, prof Turly…man!

    Such a fallacious and hypocritical post!
    In case we have forgotten, the Muslim brotherhood is NOT in power in Egypt.
    You know who is? The secular military that we, the US, put in place, and to whom we just sent the yearly weapon package it uses on its own people, killing thousands and jailing tens of thousands.

    We could have blamed the Muslim brotherhood were it still in power. But, hey democracy is only democracy when we put it in place, whether in the hands of a dictator or the military.

    Man, this blog has gone down the drain so rapidly, it is fascinating! Fact checking and logical deductions were thought to be the realm of lawyers but… wow!

  8. “the country still has seen the steady erosion of secular values”

    The secular values phrase caught my attention and I looked it up to see if it had a meaning other than the obvious. Apparently it has many meanings, all relative to one’s view on religion; boiled down though, it means values derived independent of any religion.

    I believe this (erosion) is a significant point because an entire culture may lose the freedom necessary for the development of critical-thinking skills. We are seeing this decline in our own country as we continue to marginalize the benefits of non-secular value systems. There has to be an intersection of secular and non-secular values for a culture to flourish. This can only be derived from an exposure to both and the freedom to reason and express one’s beliefs.

    What is the difference culturally between living in today’s Egypt or the United States when government is permitted to ban the teachings or expression of any doctrine; secular or religious?

  9. Guys like that creep into governments from time to time. Guys like McCarthy, somehow get into positions of power and ruin and destroy lives. The brightest star on the American flag is that in this country the people do rise up and change things when things go too far out of whack.

    Let’s hope that in Egypt and Turkey, the two main potential anchors to rationalism in the Middle East, the people will demand that judges such as this tool of mindless extremism are ousted and more reasonable people are installed.

  10. I’m waiting to read what po has to say on this thread. The Middle East is pushing forward to the Dark Ages. I’m a glass half full person, but that glass is not just half empty, it is spilled on the floor.

  11. “an anti-Semitic judge.”

    Why do people continue to use the phrase, “anti-Semitic”, when they mean anything from prejudicial dislike of all Jews to disapproving of today’s version of apartheid racist Zionism? It’s a generally derogatory term when many who disapprove of apartheid racism are quite humanitarian and honorable in their efforts.

  12. well said davidm2575. Each group of people have their sectarian views and shut out other views. This is something we all need to work on in our lives.
    Another point is that Egypt and other countries have become fanatically sectarian in their thinking, putting oppressive sanctions on their people and isolating them from the real world.
    This is another example of how Sharia law and Islam can never work in a free world democracy and should never be allowed in this country.

  13. Jonathan Turley wrote: “It is the latest example of Egypt’s devolution from a secular to a sectarian legal system.”

    What struck me as odd in this article was the juxtaposition of “secular” and “sectarian” as if being secular means being nonsectarian. While the religious certainly can be sectarian, the religious also can be nonsectarian, with perhaps Jesus and his religious teaching being the greatest example of this. Likewise, the secular can be either sectarian or nonsectarian. There are many sectarian secularists seeking to purge all religion from society (e.g., the Freedom from Religion Foundation). Read the secular humanist manifestos, or just examine our own history of purging religious monuments and displays from the public square, and of prohibiting public prayer and religious texts from our public school systems. The presupposition that secularists are nonsectarian while the religious are sectarian is a farce.

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