The top-ranking cleric at Egypt’s Al Azhar University, considered by most Sunni Muslims to be the highest bastion of religious authority, has reiterated that Islam stands against terrorism in all its forms and protects human life regardless of religion or nationality, according to the daily Al Ahram.
“President Hosni Mubarak warned against terrorism long time ago,” said Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi.
“We support the president and his call for holding an international conference to counter terrorism,” Tantawi told foreign reporters in a press conference at Al Azhar Monday, adding that Islam protects the life of individuals regardless of their status or religion.
He said that Shari’a (Islamic law) clearly forbade attacking or killing ordinary people.
In case of aggression, Tantawi added, the culprit should receive a just and deterring punishment to allow other people to live in safety.
The top cleric said Islamic law called upon all mankind to seek security and reassurance among themselves, and warned them against killing and aggression.
However, Tantawi noted that “there is a difference between terrorism and defending one’s homeland, such as our Palestinian brothers are doing in defending their land, sacred shrines and dignity. We in the name of Islam and other religions stand firmly with them because they have their own rights. We fight terrorism because it is against humanity.”
“Those who kill innocent men, women, and children are the real terrorists, but those who defend themselves, their homeland and their sacred shrines should receive support from all believers headed by Muslims,” Tantawi added.
Most Muslims adhere to the Sunni branch of Islam – Albawaba.com