The mufti of Egypt, a top Muslim religious leader, said the Palestinian suicide operations against Israel are "legitimate,” in an interview published Thursday, challenging remarks by Al Azhar top cleric condemning the attacks.
"The martyrdom operations that Palestinians are carrying out to put an end to injustice, defend Islam's holy sites and preserve the dignity of the (Arab) nation are legitimate," said Sheikh Nasr Farid Wassel.
"None can say that resisting (Israeli) occupation by all means is illegitimate," the mufti told Dubai's official Al-Bayan newspaper, as quoted by AFP.
Sheikh Wassel urged the international community to look for the "real reasons behind the escalation of Zionist criminal actions and the operations of martyrdom."
He blasted the "double standards" of US policy in the Middle East, saying it had "transformed Palestinian resistance into acts of terrorism."
"Jihad (Islamic holy war) and defense of the homeland and Islam's holy sites are a commitment that every Muslim honors more than ever in Palestine, Kashmir and in our Islamic world."
The sheikh of Al-Azhar in Cairo, the highest seat of learning in Sunni Islam, has spoken up against the suicide bombings carried out in Israel by Palestinian Islamic militants on Saturday and Sunday.
Islamic sharia law "rejects all attempts on human life, and in the name of sharia we condemn all attacks on civilians, whatever the community or state responsible for such an attack."
A leading Muslim religious scholar in Qatar criticized Sheikh Mohammad Tantawi.
"How can the head of Al Azhar incriminate mujahedeen (Islamic fighters) who fight against aggressors? How can he consider these aggressors as innocent civilians?" asked Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi.
Qaradawi said that the Israeli society is a militarized one, and all its men and women are occupying soldiers.
“Has fighting colonizers become a criminal and terrorist act for some sheikhs?" Qaradawi asked, adding that "Israeli society was completely military in its make-up and did not include any civilians."
In Israel, "men and women are soldiers. They are all occupying soldiers."
The suicide bombings in Jerusalem and the northern Israeli city of Haifa killed 28 people, including the three bombers and a Filipina.
In Amman, a Jordanian cleric of a Palestinian origin, Abdel Men’em Abu Zant, also assailed Tantawi and Saudi clerics for issuing fatwas against “martyrdom operations.”
He told Albawaba.com in an interview that such attacks are acts of jihad or holy war in defense of Islam.
Abu Zant, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a former MP, described the fatwas against as “colonial conspiracy.”
He explained that such sheikhs are duped by western media into passing “well-intentioned” judgments against the mujahideen, “sometime to please the rulers,” and the West – Albawaba.com
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