Egypt's top Islamic body slammed a senior Coptic bishop who reportedly disputed the authenticity of some verses of the Quran, warning that the statement threatened Egypt's national unity. Bishop Bishoy, head of the Coptic Church's theological council and considered its No. 2 official, was quoted as saying last week that some verses were inserted into the Muslim holy book after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Islamic belief says the prophet received all verses through the archangel Gabriel during his lifetime.
"Such irresponsible statements threaten ... national unity at a time when it is vital to maintain it," said a statement Saturday from Al-Azhar. Reflecting the depth of concern that the recent tension could spark violence, Al-Azhar held an emergency meeting Saturday of its Islamic Research Center to discuss the statement.
The leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood opposition group, Mohammed Badeea, urged Muslims to "respond to whoever slanders the book of God or the prophet."