Egypt’s Al-Azhar condemned on Monday the killing of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot on Sunday in Amman prior to his trial on charges related to sharing an "anti-Islam" caricature on social media.
Al-Azhar – the world's oldest seat of Sunni Islamic learning – said in a statement that killings independent of the judiciary and the rule of law are “completely unacceptable” and prohibited in Islamic Sharia law.
The religious body stressed on the importance of addressing “twisted thoughts” through the “moderate” teachings that Al-Azhar has adopted throughout its history.
Al-Azhar added, however, that it rejects any "insult" to Islam as this can cause strife between members of society.
Hattar was shot outside the court where he was set to attend a session for his trial on charges of "contempt of religion" over his sharing on social media of a caricature deemed as insulting Islam.
The gunman, a 39-year-old working as a mosque preacher, was arrested at the scene.
Hattar, a Christian and an anti-Islamist activist who was a supporter of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, was arrested last month after he shared a caricature that depicted a bearded man in heaven smoking in bed with women and asking God to bring him wine and cashews.
In the cartoon, the man also asks God to clear his dishes and put a door on his tent and knock before entering.
Jordan’s highest official religious authority, Dar Al-Ifta, criticised Hattar for what it called an "insult to the divine entity, Islam and religious symbols."