Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (Cairo)

7 February 2013

Egypt: A Muslim Cleric Issues Fatwa On the Necessity of Killing in the Name of Religion

press release

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) condemns the statements came within an online video clip of Egypt's religious al-Hafez channel showed hard-line Salafi Muslim cleric Mahmoud Shaaban saying leaders of the main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front, would be condemned to death under Islamic law, or sharia.

The NSF has been calling for regular protests against President Mohamed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood politician elected in June. He is accused by the opposition of trying to monopolize power. Shabaan said the NSF leadership wanted power and were "burning Egypt" to get it. "It is clear now their sentence in God's law is death," he said in the video, which was posted on YouTube on February 2. The National Salvation Front leadership includes El-Baradei and former presidential candidates Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabahy. Shaaban named both Sabahy and ElBaradei in the video.

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, the head of EOHR, stated that this kind of fatwa threatens solidarity of the Egyptian community and opens the door to the Islamists to gain broader powers enable them to eliminate the opposition. This fatwa marks the ugly political tyranny of the ruling regime in Egypt, he added.

Abu Seada also warned against importing the Tunisian experiment of murdering the opposition leaders, while the Egyptian revolution called for freedom of thought, expression and assembly, which is one of the essential human rights. This incident aims at chaining the Egyptian people in order not to oppose any of the current regime's decisions, he added.

EOHR calls upon the Egyptian presidency and the Egyptian government to denounce entirely this fatwa. EOHR also calls upon Al Azhar to take Sheikh Mahmoud Shaaban into accountability for this explosive fatwa that should never been given by any of its members.

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