February 8, 2012 Special Dispatch No. 4478

Egyptian Salafi MP Mamdouh Ismail Causes Stir by Calling to Prayer in Middle of Parliamentary Session

February 8, 2012
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 4478

In the middle of proceedings during yesterday's session of the Egyptian parliament, Salafi MP Mamdouh Ismail suddenly stood up from his bench and gave the call to the afternoon asr prayer, which is usually given from mosque minarets. Parliamentary speaker Saad Al-Katatny reacted angrily.

The incident caused disorder within the session. An MP from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, Al-Sayed Askar, responded to Ismail, saying, "During the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him, Muslims combined the thuhr and asr prayers when necessary."[1]

After the session, Ismail said, "We are not in the Vatican, this is a Muslim country, we need to pray on time."Adding that the politicians had been missing many prayers during the parliamentary sessions, he said, "I asked the speaker several times to organize the parliamentary sessions around prayer times... [He] agreed and said he would take action, but he never followed through. His reply to me was like that of a dictator, even though he was in the wrong."[2]

In an interview with the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, published today, Ismail said it would be a disgrace to the Muslim Brotherhood-led parliament if he is punished, and that he had been surprised by the attack on him by Muslim Brotherhood MPs. He added that the Muslim Brotherhood, whose alliance occupies nearly 47 percent of seats, wants to steer the assembly according to its will, and that the group’s members would not have objected had it been one of them who had given the call to prayer.[3]

Following are excerpts of statements by Ismail calling to prayer during the parliamentary session, and of the rebuke by the parliamentary speaker. The video aired on Sout Al-Sha'b TV on February 7, 2012:

Parliamentary speaker: "I did not authorize you to do this. We have a mosque. You can call to prayer there."

Mamdouh Ismail: "…I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah…"

Speaker: "Mr. Mamdouh Ismail, when you finish calling to prayer, I will have to speak with you, because you have violated the protocol of this session."

Mamdouh Ismail: "…come to prayer, come to success. Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar. There is no God but Allah."

Speaker: "MP Mahmdouh Ismail has violated the protocol of this session. He used the time given to him to call to prayer without asking my permission. There is a mosque where you can call to prayer. This hall is for talking. Don't you patronize us. You are no more Muslim than us. Prayer is no less important to us than it is to you."


"Don't patronize us. I didn't permit you to speak again. If you want to pray, I won't stand in your way. Go ahead… Don't answer. This place is for discussion, not for calling to prayer."

Mamdouh Ismail: "You listen to me…"

Speaker: "This place is not for calling to prayer. If you want to call to prayer, excuse yourself… Go and call to prayer at the mosque. This is not the hour of prayer. You are a respected lawyer. Do you need all this attention from the media?

"Who are you addressing? All the MPs here want to pray. I did not permit you to speak again. Sit down! Sit down! I did not permit you to speak again. Sit down! Do not disrupt this session, or else I will take action against you. No, this is not in the constitution.

"Sit down, please. Don't disrupt this session. Are you more of a religious expert than all these people? Do not patronize your brothers in this parliament."


[1], February 7, 2012

[2], February 7, 2012

[3], February 8, 2012

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