Cairo: An Islamist lawmaker plunged Egyptian parliament on Tuesday into a row when he insisted on making a call for prayer during a heated debate over the violent clashes between security forces and anti-military protesters in central Cairo.
MP Mamdouh Esmail from the radical Salafist Al Asala, ignored a warning from Speaker of the legislature Saad Al Katatni and recited the call for the afternoon prayer (Asr) inside the chamber.
"You are not more pious than us," Al Katatni reproached Esmail. "You hamper the process of the debate. If you want, you can go to the mosque outside the hall to announce the call for prayer."
Esmail, a lawyer by profession, walked out in protest against refusing his request that the session be suspended for Muslim lawmakers to perform the prayer.
On January 23, at the inaugural session of the parliament several Salafist lawmakers improvised an Islamist oath during a swearing-in ceremony.
The Muslim Brotherhood, an influential moderate group banned under Mubarak, holds nearly half of the parliament's seats.