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HandWiki. Mohammad Tolba. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 21 June 2024).
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Mohammad Tolba
cultural diversity social movement salafis

1. Introduction

Mohammad Tolba is an Egyptian Salafi activist and entrepreneur. He was one of the protestors in the Tahrir Square during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. In the same year, he founded "Salafyo Costa," or "Costa Salafis" an activist group that embraces cultural diversity and pluralism and strives for social justice. Tolba and other founders of the group named themselves after their meeting place:[1] Costa Coffee. It has evolved since into a social movement and a forum for dialogue, which brings together activists from different cultural, religious, ideological and ethnic backgrounds. Salafyo Costa has Coptic Christians, socialists, Muslim Brotherhood members and liberals. Some of the female members wear a niqāb while others sport a pair of jeans. Together they have forged a common identity and pursued common goals.

2. Beliefs

Tolba embraces teachings of Salafism albeit he rejects the "discriminating" [2] term Islamist as for him all Muslims are or should be Islamists by definition. In spite of his long beard, he is more likely than not to be seen wearing casual outfit or business attire. According to him he has learned the importance of returning to original religious sources and recognising their underlying principles before implementing them in daily life.[3] Being a Salafi for him means to practice Islam according to a certain understanding of how it was being practiced in its first 300 years after Prophet Mohammed received the message.[4]

He believes that all Egyptians, including Salafis are partners in the nation, no matter how badly Salafis were treated before.[5] Above all he believes that if Egyptians were educated about their rights and choices, things will definitely change. They will go after those rights and fight for them.[6] Tolba strongly advocates for credibility and accountability. He believes accountability is a two way process. Decision makers must be held accountable towards people they represent, and grassroots communities are to realize that they are also accountable before themselves, others and future generations for their actions and shouldering their responsibilities. Therefore, Tolba works hard on enabling and empowering individuals in rural underdeveloped settings in Egypt.[2] He classifies the work that he does under a sustainable development action plan with more than charitable momentary vision.[7] He has boycotted all rounds of the first post- Revolution Presidential Elections and he repeatedly stresses that politics is but a tool for serving and supporting communities.[2]

3. Short Films

Tolba has appeared in several short films, some of which were produced by Costa Salafis. The short film: Ayna Wedni? "Where is my ear?" addresses the stance of orthodox Muslim scholars towards the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, their relation with the regime then and their attempts to hinder the participation of young followers through strict interpretation of religious texts. Ayna Mahelli? "Where is my shop?", that was also produced by the activists group, cleverly talks about the post- revolution internal divisions within the Egyptian society. The film depicts one of the major challenges after the success of the revolution, where different people representing opposite backgrounds and religious beliefs clash over their rights in a shop standing for their country: Egypt.[8]

4. Criticism

Although Tolba stresses that he strictly embraces Salafism, he and his Salafyo Costa fiends have been the subject of criticism from Salafi Sheikhs and other Islamists who are often resistant to bridging the gap with the other. Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud, an Egyptian prominent Salafi scholar and a representative of the Sharia Commission for Rights and Reconciliation, described Tolba as "daring and ignorant" for making "many compromises to gain followers." [9] Tolba has refrained from commenting and underlined his respect for Sheikh Abdel- Maqsoud and his religious views.[6]

Tolba's political views are often kept personal to keep the focus on the social change he aims at making. Yet, that does not save him from being bashed by different politically affiliated groups for not taking a publicly clear stance supporting one side or another.[10]

5. Personal Life

Tolba was born on 29 May 1979 into an upper-middle-class family who lives at Mohandessin. He holds an MBA in Leadership and Sustainability and a Sales Professional Diploma from the American University in Cairo. Tolba has two brothers: Ezzat and Amr. He is married and has one son and two daughters.[11]

He turned to God and religion at an early age after a raging adolescence when a close friend of his lost his life in a car accident. He first was picked out by a group of young members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and became close to them. He had learned a lot about Islamic teachings and practices from them before he became a disciple of a moderate mentor Sheikh of the Salafi movement that remains anonymous.

6. Professional Experience

Tolba held several high management posts at different IT companies. He moved to Sudan in 2006 and became the Telecom Sales Manager of North Africa & Country Manager of International Turnkey Systems, before he started his own enterprise company: Over Coffee Solutions in 2013. As the founder and owner of an IT company, Tolba creates computer-mediated environments for dialogue and activism with a special focus on education systems.[12]

Tolba writes for the Atlantic Council,[13] Al-Youm Al-Sabe'a,[14] Masr Al-Arabia[15] and Al- Dostor Al-Asly.[16]

Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions. Edit


  1. EMAJ Magazine (13 May 2012). "Meet Mohammad Tolba, the friendly face of Egyptian Salafism". Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  2. "حوار- مؤسس سلفيو كوستا: الإخوان تتاجر بالدماء.. والسيسي يحاول أن يكون ناصر" (in Arabic). 12 April 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  3. Nada Zohdy (10 December 2012). "Salafyo Costa, Salafi Group, Works to Counter Intolerance". Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  4. Khaled Dawoud (22 April 2014). "Salfyo Costa: Where Are They Now?". Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  5. Stephanie Nolen (12 December 2012). "Building bridges between faiths in a Cairo coffee shop". Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  6. Salonaz Sami (6 June 2012). "Salafism and coffee". Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  7. "مصر: حركة "سلفيو كوستا" تسعى لإنشاء حزب سياسي" (in Arabic). 13 September 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  8. Ayna Wedni? "Where is my ear?"
  9. "YouTube" (in en). 
  10. "Mohammad Tolba" (in ar). 
  11. TEDx Talks (2012-03-09), TEDxPortSaid - Mohammad Tolba - The Black Duck,, retrieved 2018-07-10 
  12. Over Coffee Solutions
  13. Mohammad Tolba (4 December 2013). "The Egyptian People Are Not Ready". Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  14. Mohamamd Tolba's Articles
  15. Mohamamd Tolba's Articles
  16. Tolba, Mohammad (11 April 2014). "هرم ماسلو وأهرامات الجيزة" (in Arabic). Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
Name: Mohammad Tolba
Born: May 1929
Cairo, Egypt
Titles: Egyptian Salafi activist Entrepreneur
Affiliation: Unknown
Honor: Unknown
Subjects: Others
Contributor MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to :
View Times: 677
Entry Collection: HandWiki
Revision: 1 time (View History)
Update Date: 05 Dec 2022
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