A new threat has emerged in Egypt calling for the destruction of the Sphinx and other ancient structures.
Egyptian Salafist Murgan Salem al-Gohary, a Muslim jihadist leader, announced a jihad on television against the Sphinx.
"The idols and statues that fill Egypt must be destroyed. Muslims are tasked with applying the teachings of Islam and removing these idols, just like we did in Afghanistan when we smashed the Buddha statues," Gohary said in a Saturday night television interview, according to Al Arabiya News. "God ordered Prophet Mohamed to destroy idols. When I was with the Taliban we destroyed the statue of Buddha, something the government failed to do."
This is the latest threat against the Egyptian monuments by Muslim extremists that started being reported a few months ago, according to the Inquisitr.
The 50-year-old jihadist leader is known in Egypt for advocating violence and has connections to the Taliban, according to the Egypt Independent. Gohary was sentenced to life imprisonment under fromer President Hosni Mubarak, but fled to Afghanistan. He was caught in 2007 moving from Pakistan to Syria where he was handed back to Egyptian authorities. Gohary was released from prison under a judicial ruling after President Mubarak's fall in 2011.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry is taking the threat against the wondrous monument very seriously. Prevention measures are being put in place as a precaution with the addition of boosted security, according to Egyptian officials.
The Sphinx and pyramids of Giza are Egypt's most important tourist attraction with tourism a major source of income for the country. However, the tourism industry has been worried about the growing influence of Islamic movements in the wake of the January 2011 revolution, with some Islamists calling for restrictions on tourists, such as the banning of alcohol and women's swimsuits.