Qatari fatwa: Destroy Egypt’s pyramids, Sphinx!

Religious edict suggested the destruction of the historic monuments were a 'religious duty' that Egyptians must fulfill. (Al Arabiya)

A fatwa from a Qatari-owned online portal has been widely circulated by Egyptian press this week after it called for the destruction of pharanoic monuments on the grounds that they are contrary to Islam.

The religious edict, issued by Islam Web, was picked up by several independent Egyptian news outlets, such as Youm 7 and al-Fagr. It suggested the destruction of the historic monuments were a “religious duty” that Egyptians must fulfill.

But Egyptian newspapers carrying the story failed to notice the fatwa was first issued in December 2012. It has nevertheless sparked prime-time talk show discussions in Egypt.

The fatwa, which had been issued in response to a user’s question to the Islam Web’s administrator, had stated: “The demolition of the pyramids and the sphinx is a religious duty,” before referring to the monuments as “idols.”

It added: “(The destruction of) monuments is a duty by Sharia (Islamic) law, as many texts have stipulated … Texts on this issue are many and well-known but (implementing) them is restrained to one’s ability… And so, if it’s not possible to destroy the pyramids and the Sphinx as a result of the presence of an authority preventing that, Muslims would not be committing a sin.”

In 2012, Egyptian scholars denounced any fatwa calling for the destruction of pharanoic monuments.

Under the radar

Islam Web is affiliated to the Qatari ministry of endowments, with Doha’s government website advising users seeking online fatwas to “enter the official website of Fatwa Center on Islam Web.”

The portal has previously been under the radar following a fatwa issued in 2006 permitting the burning of people to death. The edict was titled: “The Burning of Ias bin Abdul Yalil by Abu Bakr” which visited a historic case study to conclude that burning people as a form of punishment is permissible.

But last month, the fatwa was reportedly removed from the site and retracted hours after ISIS burned Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh alive.

Islam Web has also attracted controversy for issuing a fatwa that legitimizes insulting Christianity, which was also widely reported on.

Relations between Qatar and Egypt have been tense since the 2013 ouster of former Islamist President Mohammad Mursi, who hails from the Doha-backed Muslim Brotherhood.

Last Update: 07:08 KSA 10:08 - GMT 07:08