Endowments minister rejects fatwas threatening political opposition

Endowments Minister Talaat Afify has rejected religious edicts labelling political opponents as unbelievers as “bizarre."

“Calls for naming political opponents infidels are bizarre and not to be used as a standard [for issuing religious edicts]," Afify told reporters during a seminar on modern Islamic thought in Kuwait on Monday. “Al-Azhar [doctrine] is based on moderation and accepting opposing opinions.”

Afify's announcement comes after Al-Azhar preacher Mahmoud Shaaban reportedly issued a fatwa encouraging the assassination of senior members from Egypt's now-leading opposition group, the National Salvation Front, during an interview with a religious satellite channel. Prosecutors have interrogated Shaaban over the fatwa, which stoked major controversy, and released him on a LE5,000 bail.

“We condemn those calls just like we do those who hurl stones and molotovs and resort to pressure to oblige people to listen to them," Afify added, in a possible allusion to incidents of violence during recent anti-regime protests.

Edited translation from MENA

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