Abou Hassira: Respecting the judicial while listening to the voice of reason 

22/1/2015, Al Bawaba

When I read of the ruling handed down by the state council in the Abu Hasira case I restrained myself from giving an assessment. The reason is that what I studied in Egyptian and French law schools was to respect judicial rulings regardless of their outcome, in other words not to express opposition. This however does not stop one from thinking about it and listening to the voice of reason.

In that context, I remember a conversation I had in Morocco while there  with President Sadat; I had met David Ammar, president of the Jewish community in Morocco who began the conversation about Abu Hasira in the 1970s. Abu Hasira was a man of God for the Jews and was buried in 1880 in the village of Damatiuh in Egyptian Nile Delta city of Damanhour. It was said that Abu Hasira performed miracles. Among these was the spreading of his reed mat (hasira) over the sea to float safely home after his ship sunk on the way to Jerusalem.

Ammar expressed his wish that pilgrimage to Abu Hasira’s burial place should be allowed for Jews. I took the liberty of informing President Sadat about the Abu Hasira issue while we were on a flight to Egypt. He asked me to remind him after our arrival. As I mentioned in my autobiography, President Sadat ended the discussion with a joke saying that he had no objections, but we should be wary of the Israelis turning the pilgrimage area into a settlement!

For my part, I do believe that all of us – Jews, Christians and Muslims – are descendants of Abraham, peace be upon him. We may assume that if the Jewish pilgrims practiced unacceptable rituals during the pilgrimage, the authorities should simply impose restrictions concerning what is ethically acceptable. Adherence to these restrictions should allow the pilgrims to continue visiting the site.

treanslated from Al Bawaba

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