SHAFAQNA – One of the world’s most senior Muslim clerics has called Islamic State a “cancer on the Arab region” and has vowed to use education to stop the rise in extremism.
Shawki Allam, Egypt’s Grand Mufti, condemned the “horrific acts and reckless killings” by Isis fighters, saying that their actions were un-Islamic.
“We have unequivocally stated that such behaviour is not in line with Islamic teachings . . . their reckless acts undermine societal peace in the region,” he told The Times.
“That is why we took it upon ourselves to dismantle these wrong ideas . . . we have put Daesh [Isis] under the microscope and written responses to their horrific acts. We are doing our homework as far as this cancer is concerned,” he said.
His comments come weeks after Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Egypt’s largest terrorist group, pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
The Egyptian terrorist group has stepped up attacks on security forces since last year’s military overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president. In October they killed more than 30 officers in a suicide bomb blast in North Sinai.
Last week they claimed responsibility for the death of William Henderson, 58, an American oil worker who was shot in the western desert in August.
In response, the Grand Mufti has positioned himself as a champion of moderate Islam. “We issue no less than 1,500 fatwas every day that give a correct explanation of what Islam is about,” he said. His office has opened hotlines, set up two Facebook pages in Arabic and English and published a book to counter the extremist propaganda.
In Egypt, the Grand Mufti has been criticised for backing the security forces’ heavy-handed “war on terror” that critics say is radicalising youth.
More than 40,000 people have been arrested since July, many accused of participating in terrorist activities.
In North Sinai, which is under curfew, residents say the army’s bombing of villages to root out militants is indiscriminate.
Thousands have been left homeless after soldiers destroyed more than 800 houses along the Gaza border to create a buffer zone to stop weapons and fighters being smuggled over the border.
The Muslim Brotherhood has accused the Grand Mufti of approving hundreds of death sentences from three mass trials. All death sentences handed down in Egypt are passed to him for his comments. More than 400 people are facing the gallows despite an international outcry over the way the trials were conducted.
The Grand Mufti defended the Egyptian judiciary, saying that the verdicts were not “hasty, haphazard decisions”. “The media does not have accurate information about the hard work that is done before the judges even hold the cases . . . when the [court] papers come to us we see a lot of homework has been done,” he said.
Source : thetimes.co.uk