Al-Azhar cleric to face sanctions for inciting violence

Fatwa, posted 8.27.2012, from Egypt
Al-Azhar cleric to face sanctions for inciting violence

The complaints office at Egypt's Al-Azhar referred Sheikh Hisham Islam to administrative prosecutors on Sunday for issuing a religious edict earlier this month encouraging the killing of those taking part in Friday's demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from which Morsi hails.

At a forum held at the Egyptian Diplomatic Club on 15 August, Islam made comments that some observers saw as an incitement of violence against anyone participating in the 24 August demonstration. At the event, Islam had said that protesting against the elected president would be tantamount to "high treason against the nation, God, his prophet and Muslims." 

"I say stand up against them," Islam had said. "If they fight you, fight them back … if they kill some of you, the victims will go to heaven, and if you kill them that would be righteous."

The Sheikh's statements were subsequently described by Al-Azhar officials as a violation of his professional responsibility.

Al-Azhar's complaints office has also expelled Islam from Al-Azhar's Fatwa committee – of which he had been a member – for issuing religious edicts without first referring them to the committee.