Hamdeen Sabbahi defies death threats, vows to continue revolutionary path
[Al Ahram] Opposition figure Hamdeen Sabbahi said on Friday that peaceful protests will continue until the revolution's goals have been achieved and until retribution for all slain protesters has been achieved.

Sabbahi stated that this would take place regardless of death threats against him or other members of opposition umbrella group the National Salvation Front (NSF).

"Our faith in the revolution kills any threats," Sabbahi, who stood as a presidential candidate in last year's elections, stated on his official Twitter account on Friday.

His comments came in response to a highly controversial fatwa by Al-Azhar University professor and host of a religious television show on the ultraconservative TV channel El-Hafez, Mahmoud Shaaban, last week.

Shaaban stated that the opposition should be punished by death for attempting to bring down a leader elected by the public, directly naming Sabbahi and fellow NSF leader Mohamed ElBaradei.

Following widespread criticism of the edict, with many calling for harsh measures to be carried out against Shaaban, the presidential office on Thursday released a statement condemning the fatwa.

"Some are promoting and inciting political violence while others who claim to speak in the name of religion are permitting 'killing' based on political differences, and this is terrorism," read the statement.

Following the threat, Egypt's interior ministry provided extra security for Sabbahi and ElBaradei, but Sabbahi refused any extra safeguards saying he "lives and will continue to live as a private citizen."

Tensions between Islamists and anti-Islamists have been on the rise in the Arab Spring countries in recent months.

On Wednesday, Tunisian opposition figure Chokri Belaid, a critic of the Islamist-led Ennahda government, was assasinated by unknown assailants sparking fears of a repeat in Egypt.

Friday is expected to see mass protests in Egypt, with many opposition groups, including the NSF, mobilising their followers to demonstrate against the government of President Mohamed Morsi on what has been dubbed "Departure Friday" or "the Friday of human dignity."

Posted by: Fred 2013-02-09