Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

17 August 2012

Egypt: Controversial Sheikh Says Fatwa Was Misinterpreted

A sheikh who legitimized killing protesters in a demonstration scheduled for August 24 has said he made a mistake in the fatwa, explaining that he meant carrying arms against the government not demonstrating peacefully.

"Whoever says Sheikh Hashem Islam calls for sectarianism and murder is wrong because my fatwa was greatly misinterpreted," Sheikh Islam said in an interview with al-Watan newspaper.

In an explanation for the circumstances surrounding his fatwa, the Sheikh said he was asked about the opinion of Shari'a on those who carry arms on August 24 and intend to cause destruction and he answered that this is "a retreat from the January 25 revolution and these are rebels on democracy and freedom, they should be tried and killed and they should not have any blood money as compensation. As for peaceful demonstrators, this fatwa is not applicable to them."

Demonstrating peacefully is guaranteed, consequently my fatwa was intended for thugs and armed demonstrators, the Sheikh added.

He accused "remnants of the former regime and those who represented a deep state" of distorting his image and misquoting him.

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