Egypt mufti did not issue fatwa to kill opposition figures: senior cleric

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Special Advisor to Egypt’s Grand Mufti Dr. Ibrahim Negm denied on Thursday that the mufti Dr. Ali Gomaa issued a fatwa sanctioning the killing of opposition figures as claimed by ultra-conservative preacher Mohamed Ahmed Abdullah, also known as Abu Islam.

The controversial Abu Islam stated Wednesday on the Islamist al-Umma channel, which he owns, that Grand Mufti Sheikh Ali Gomaa said that whoever opposes President Mohamed Mursi, the “legitimate ruler of the nation,” as he put it, will be punished by death and claimed he had an audio-visual proof of that.

“Go arrest Dr. Gomaa then pay five thousand pounds to bail him out,” Abu Islam said in reference to the summoning and release of Salafi preacher Mahmoud Shaaban who sanctioned the killing of members of the National Salvation Front, Egypt’s biggest opposition bloc, and anybody who opposes Mursi.

“Those statements attributed to Gomaa are absolutely groundless and if Abu Islam has any proof of that let him present to the relevant bodies,” Negm told Al Arabiya.

Negm explained that Gomaa has always supported peaceful demonstrations as a legitimate means of exercising pressure for the aim of securing certain demands provided that these demands are legitimate too.

“He has repeatedly said that peaceful protesters have to respect the dignity of the state and not to engage in acts of vandalism or throw Molotov cocktails. Violence is rejected by everybody including protesters themselves.”

Abu Islam, who is known for his fiery statement against the opposition, said that the Egyptian revolution elected Mursi and that is why whoever opposes him is to be killed in accordance with, he argued, Islamic law. Then he mentioned in the mufti in an attempt to gain credibility for his fatwa.

“The revolution elected Mursi, you stupid people,” he said, addressing members of the opposition. “Those who oppose him are to be killed and it is the mufti himself and not any regular sheikh or scholar who issued this fatwa.”

Abu Islam was interrogated at the General Prosecution following a complaint filed against him by Dr. Naguib Gobrail, head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, for describing women who protest at Tahrir Square as “whores” and “Crusaders” who desire to be sexually assaulted. Abu Islam had also torn up the Bible and called for people to urinate on it.

Gobrail accused Abu Islam of inciting sectarian sedition, deriding the Christian faith, and threatening national security.