Egyptians Celebrate Sham el-Nessim Amid 'Infidel' Comments Made by Salafis

Today, Egyptians celebrate the Spring Festival, or Shame el-Nessim, an ancient Egyptian festival in which Egyptians celebrated the New Year and the start of the spring season.

Copts originally found this day always came during Lent, so they postponed it so that it could be celebrated on the day following the celebration of Easter. Since then, Egyptians have continued to celebrate it on the day following the celebration of Easter.

While it is deemed an official state holiday, Salafists currently prohibit celebrating it, as it is regarded as a blasphemous rite.

Dr. Yasser el-Burhami, vice president of the Salafist Call, issued a fatwa prohibiting renting tourist beaches on Sham el-Nessim because "it is imitation of the festivals of the infidels."

A fatwa was published on the "Voice of Ancestors" website in a response to the question: "Is it permissible for me to be a mediator in renting tourist beaches on Sham el-Nessim in a tourist village?"

Burhami wrote: "This is not permissible because the celebration of Sham el-Nessim is an imitation of the infidels in celebrating their festivals and because of the many violations and abominable acts that take place on beaches that day."

Literature was distributed to residents in in Beni Suef, 60 miles south of Cairo, urging Muslims not to imitate others in the celebration.

"God Almighty has organized our feasts and showed us how to celebrate them, so there is no need to imitate others in their festivals, in which right and wrong, and permissible and impermissible things are confused," the flyers read.