Over 100,000 Egyptian Shias, according to Bahaa Anwar, spokesman of Egypt’s Shias, have signed the Rebel campaign that aims to withdraw confidence from Mohamed Morsi and force early presidential elections.
In a statement released Saturday, Anwar said that exactly 100,253 Egyptian Shia signed the petition — some who live in Egypt and others who live abroad.
Anwar said that these signatures have yet to be handed over to the main campaign.
The fast-growing Rebel campaign, which officially opened 1 May, has gained around seven million signatures so far, according to organisers. The initiative has been backed by a large number of political parties and high-profile political figures.
The campaign hopes to collect 15 million signatures in support of a vote of no confidence in President Morsi, outnumbering the 13.2 million votes he won in Egypt’s first-ever free presidential poll in June 2012. It also calls for early presidential elections.
The campaign hopes to conclude with a million-strong rally outside the presidential palace in Cairo to demand immediate presidential elections. The petition will be submitted to the public prosecutor.
Anwar said that Egypt’s Shias are against “religious rule,” in reference to Morsi who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, the group many opposition critics believe is the de facto governing body of Egypt.
“They are looking forward to a contemporary civic state,” he said in his statement. “Theocratic or military rule results only in destruction.”
There is no official estimation of Shias in Sunni-majority Egypt, but their number are believed negligible.
Since Morsi came to power, anti-Shia sentiments became rife, especially among radical Salafists.
The rift between Sunnis and Shias is the largest and oldest in the history of Islam, sometimes sparking open sectarian conflict.