Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
CAIRO (ANS) -- A mosque in Cairo has been occupied by radical Islamic militias and turned into a torture chamber for demonstrators against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.
Opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood is mounting. (Via Barnabas Aid/Hany Fakhry)
Officials at the Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque reported the takeover to the police.
According to a news release from Barnabas Aid. It occurred after Friday prayers March 22.
Demonstrators, including Christians and moderate Muslims, were then rounded up from the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters and taken to the mosque, where they were tortured for hours.
Barnabas Aid reported that one of the victims, Amir Ayad, a Christian, said he was severely beaten before being left for dead at the side of the road. He suffered a fractured skull, a broken arm, bleeding in his right eye and pellet wounds.
Mosque officials expressed regret for what happened, saying that they "had lost control over the mosque at the time."
Barnabas Aid said their statement also "denounced and condemned the violence and involving mosques in political conflicts."
President Mohammed Morsi is becoming increasingly unpopular in Egypt, and there have been numerous demonstrations against his rule, which opponents have labeled autocratic. And as protests have intensified, Barnabas Aid reported, so have efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood to clamp down on dissenters.
Christians, moderate Muslims and secular liberals are increasingly concerned about the Islamisation of the country.
Barnabas Aid said last month, hundreds of moderate imams staged a protest lasting for several days in front of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. It was against the Muslim Brotherhood's control of the country's mosques. Dozens of imams have been replaced by Islamist preachers, while those who do not adhere to hard-line teachings are punished and marginalised.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs has taken sole responsibility for the appointment of imams; previously it was shared with the country's leading Islamic university, Al-Azhar. It also controls the allocation of funds to mosques, charitable Islamic organizations and groups involved in spreading Islam.
Barnabas Aid said the moderate imams have accused the Muslim Brotherhood of politicizing the mosques, and using them for a propaganda campaign to bolster support for the government in the face of mounting opposition.
Barnabas Aid provides assistance to the persecuted church. To learn more, go to http://barnabasfund.org/US/