Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam strongly condemned the mob killing of four Shia Muslims in a Giza village on Sunday, an incident which has heighted fears of worsening sectarian frictions in Egypt.
Four Egyptian Shias were killed in a mob attack in the village of Zawyat Abu Musalam in Giza on Sunday.
An anti-Shia crowd gathered outside the house where a group of Shia Muslims were meeting. The violence, which included the murder of four Shia residents and the injuring of several others, was captured on video.
"Islam does not recognise such [violent] practices which contradict human nature," Allam said on Monday.
The senior Sunni cleric stressed that bloodshed is highly prohibited in Islam and is deemed more serious a sin than the demolition of the Kaaba, the Muslims' sacred building located in Mecca.
Recent restoration of ties with Shia Iran, and fallout from the Shia-Sunni conflict in Syria, sparked a debate over the potential "spread of Shiism in Egypt" particularly among Islamist groups.
One of those killed was a local Shia leader, Hassan Shehata, officials said.
Allam went on to explain that Islam prohibits the mutilation of the dead body. "Islam mandates treating the body as a living human, prohibiting beating and dragging of corpses."
Allam warned against mounting sectarian friction in Egypt that has "sucked the country into a vortex of violence."
There is no official statistics on the number of Shia Muslims in Egypt, but Shia figures sometimes claim up to a million Egyptian adherents.