Now Mubarak faces Muslim extremists
As Egypt recovers from the Oct. 6 assassination of President Anwar Sadat,the chief internal threat to the new government headed by Vice-President Hosni Mubarak appears to come from Muslim fundamentalists.Skip to next paragraph
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It seems now that Mr. Anwar Sadat's assassins were members of a fanatical right-wing Muslim group, Al Takfir Wal Hijra (Repentance and Flight from Sin), which advocates installing a purified Islamic society by any, even violent, means.
As one Western diplomatic source pointed out, this society is "much more militant and radical in their action program" than the many other Islamic groups.
Another group of religious fanatics occupied the headquarters of a security force in Asyut, in southern Egypt just two days after the assassination, donned stolen police uniforms as Anwar Sadat's assassins apparently has donned Army uniforms, and foughtdaylong gun battles with Egyptian police.
After the late President's crackdown in September when 1,000 Muslim extremistswere arrested, including the brother of one of his assassins, Mr. Sadat scoled the Islamic groups, which have been growing in strength since the early 1970s, for "trying to flex their muscles."
Saying he was arresting only the leaders, he warned that he had lists of thousands more, whom he did not want to arrest.
One of the major tests for Mr. Mubarak in dealing with the remaining fundamentalist opposition will be to keep order on Egyptian university campuses, scheduled to open in little over a week. The Islamic groupings there have a strong following and have dominated the student unions for several years.
Mr. Sadat's new discipline laws, one of his last acts in office, tighten security on the campuses, forbid the presence of firearms, and prescribe severe penalties for student agitators.