SHABRAMANT, Egypt — Voters attending a political rally by
ultraconservative Islamist sheiks might expect a pious call for strict
religious rule — banning alcohol, restricting women’s dress, cutting off
the hands of thieves.
But when a few hundred men gathered last week in a narrow, trash-strewn lot between the low cinderblock buildings of this village near Cairo, what they heard from the sheiks, known as Salafis, was a blistering populist attack on the condescension of the liberal Egyptian elite that resonated against other Islamists as well.
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