by WorldTribune Staff, August 7, 2016
A prominent pro-Egyptian government cleric has lived to see another day after being targeted for assassination in a Cairo suburb on Aug. 4.
Gunmen hiding in a park opened fire on former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, who was his way to a mosque near his home. The gunmen missed the pro-government cleric but slightly wounded a bodyguard, the interior ministry said, according to AFP.
The ministry said Gomaa’s bodyguards exchanged fire with the gunmen and forced them to flee.
“This attempt is a message aimed at creating fear,” Gomaa said, adding that, after the attack, he “conducted the Friday prayers as a message to these people.”
Gomaa served as Grand Mufti – the government’s official interpreter of Islamic law – for a decade until 2013. He strongly backed the army’s overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi that year.
In 2012 while still serving as Grand Mufti, Gomaa sparked uproar in Egypt when he visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Gomaa said it was not the first attempt on his life and described the assailants as “very stupid.”
“They blew up my house in Fayoum,” he said, referring to a province southwest of Cairo. He added that assailants had also “tried before from the park” outside his Cairo home.
Since stepping down as mufti, Gomaa has remained one of Egypt’s top Islamic scholars.