In the U.S., many people have been focused on observing Christian traditions such as Lent and celebrating Valentine's Day. In other parts of the world, particularly in predominantly Muslim countries such as Egypt, the mood has been much less festive as conflicts continue to rage between conservative Muslims and more liberal factions.
On Friday, February 15, a rally was held by conservative Muslims in Egypt who support their president Mohamed Morsi. They spoke out against fighting between anti-government protesters and security forces that have resulted in 60 deaths over the last three weeks. They also showed their support for a government based on Sharia law.
According to Aljazeera, "Thousands have rallied in Cairo to show support for Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi, who has been locked in a deep dispute with the largely secular opposition.
"Protesters packed a square outside Cairo University on Friday, chanting slogans backing Morsi and denouncing the recent violence allegedly carried out by opposition supporters against state institutions.
"... The rally was the first by Morsi's allies since massive protests erupted against his policies in late January, marking the second anniversary of an uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak."
On Friday, February 15, the Lebanese digital news hub Naharnet added that Morsi's supporters were rallying under the slogan "together against violence."
Along with the desire for peace, the protesters showed their support for the teachings of the Muslim Brotherhood. This may seem somewhat contradictory to Western observers.
According to Wikipedia, "The Brotherhood's credo was and is, 'Allah is our objective; the Koran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.'"
In addition to asking for the release of an Egyptian cleric named Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman who was jailed for his role in an attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, protesters shouted slogans that were consistent with the beliefs of the Muslim Brotherhood..
"'Morsi! Morsi!' others cheered as they waved Egyptian flags and held up banners that read 'No to Violence, Yes to Sharia' or Islamic law."
Sharia law is a moral and religious code based on the Koran and the example set by the prophet Muhammad in a set of writings called the Sunnah.
According to the Constitutional Rights Foundation, "Since the Sharia originated with Allah, Muslims consider it sacred. Between the seventh century when Muhammad died and the 10th century, many Islamic legal scholars attempted to interpret the Sharia and to adapt it to the expanding Muslim Empire.
"The classic Sharia of the 10th century represented an important part of Islam's golden age. From that time, the Sharia has continued to be reinterpreted and adapted to changing circumstances and new issues."
The adoption and practice of Sharia law may seem logical to conservative Muslims, but it creates problems for people of other faiths or even Muslims who express more secular views.
According to DiscoverTheNetworks.org, "Islam teaches that Sharia, as God’s revealed law, perfect and eternal, is binding on individuals, society and state in all its details. By logical extension, any criticism of Sharia is heresy.
"Muslims who deny the validity of Sharia in any way are labeled as non-Muslims (infidels) or apostates (those who convert to another religion) by traditionalists and Islamists. As such, they face the threat of being prosecuted for apostasy, a crime that carries the death penalty in Sharia."
It would be difficult for the citizens of Egypt to achieve peace as it is understood by people in the U.S. unless the more fundamentalist Muslims would be willing to show more tolerance for other religious views than traditional interpretations of Sharia can allow.