Call to Prayer Plunges Egypt's Parliament into Chaos

An Islamist lawmaker announced the call to prayer in Egypt's plenum disrupting a heated debate and infuriating the Speaker of the parliament

Contact Editor
Gabe Kahn.,

Citadel, Cairo
Citadel, Cairo
Ahmed al Badawy/Creative Commons/Flikr

Israeli politicians aren't the only ones wrangling over how to deal with the Muslim call to prayer.

An Islamist lawmaker in Cairo on Tuesday plunged Egypt's parliament into chaos when he insisted on making the call to prayer during a heated debate in the plenum over violent clashes between security forces and protesters.

MP Mamdouh Esmail from the ultraconservative Salafist Al Asala recited the call for the afternoon prayer inside the chamber over strident objections from the speaker of the parliament.

"You are not more pious than us," Speaker of the legislature Saad Al Katatni told Esmail. "You hamper the process of the debate. If you want, you can go to the mosque outside the hall to announce the call for prayer."

Esmail, a lawyer by profession, walked out in protest against refusing his request that the session be suspended for Muslim lawmakers to perform the prayer.

On January 23, at the inaugural session of the parliament several Salafist lawmakers improvised an Islamist oath during a swearing-in ceremony.

The Muslim Brotherhood, an influential Islamist group banned under Mubarak, holds nearly half of the parliament's seats in Egypt