ISIL threatens Egypt Sufis after claiming cleric murders

The "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) has threatened Egyptian followers of the mystical Sufi strand of Islam after claiming it beheaded two of their clerics in Sinai, AFP reported Friday (December 9th).

The group's affiliate in Egypt released pictures last month of a scimitar-wielding executioner beheading two elderly men it accused of "divination" .

Relatives identified one of the two men as Suleiman Abu Heraz, a Sufi sheikh in his late 90s. The second man was identified as one of his disciples.

Their bodies have not been found.

In the latest edition of the ISIL weekly newsletter al-Nabaa, issued on Thursday, a militant identified as the head of the jihadists' "morality police" in Sinai warned Sufis to renounce their beliefs.

He said Abu Heraz and fellow cleric Qatifan Breik Eid Mansour were executed for "professing knowledge of the occult".

"We tell all Sufi lodges, sheikhs and followers inside Sinai and outside that we will not allow the presence of Sufi orders in Sinai or Egypt," he was quoted as saying.

Reports of Abu Heraz's murder drew condemnation from Muslim clerics in Egypt and abroad.

Egypt's top Sunni authority, Al-Azhar, denounced his killing as "an ugly crime".

The head of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, practices Sufism, as have many leading Sunni Muslim clerics over the centuries.

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