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Egyptians in hajj divided over Islam in politics



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Ihab Abdel-Aal, 47, is among those who voted for the former Mubarak regime-era official who ran against Morsi in the past summer’s presidential race. Morsi won by just over half the vote. Abdel-Aal has performed the hajj more than 25 times, since he’s a tour operator bringing other Egyptians on the pilgrimage.

He fears Egypt is turning to a theocracy.

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"Democracy and freedom are new to Egypt," he said. "There should be no religion in politics and no politics in religion."

Abdel-Aal, like many who work in Egypt’s vital tourism industry that was hard-hit due to political turmoil over the past year, said he believes Shariah cannot be applied in all aspects of life.

"This will tank the economy and other sectors and just won’t work."

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, who runs a Cairo tourism company, says he has performed hajj more than 30 times. He said the number of Egyptians wanting to perform hajj and umrah, the smaller pilgrimage to Mecca, increased this year.

"In any crisis, the first thing a person does is pray to God," he said. "We are in a crisis."




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