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Al-Azhar condemns 'heinous' Orlando shooting, warns against anti-Islam rhetoric

Ahram Online , Tuesday 14 Jun 2016
Azhar’s grand imam Ahmed El Taaib (Reuters)
Azhar’s grand imam Ahmed El Taaib (Reuters)

Egypt's Al-Azhar, the highest seat for Sunni Islamic learning, condemned Sunday's deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, while expressing concerns about utilising the incident to intensify anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Al-Azhar said in a statement late Monday the "heinous crime" violates all tolerant teachings of Islam, urging Muslims in the west to set a model for "good manners and coexistence."

The Islamic Authority also expressed concerns about some politicians "exploiting the incident to escalate against Islam and Muslims to serve purely political purposes."

The Muslim body seemed to be alluding to the response of US Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, who is known for his anti-Islamic views, to the attack.

After a deadly December shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California, Trump drew a storm of criticism by calling for a temporary ban on Muslims coming to the US.

Shortly following the Orlando shooting, Trump said he would appreciate "the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism." 

In its statement, Al-Azhar warned that the mishandling of such incidents will "trigger more resentment...and only benefit terrorism."

Al-Azhar added that the unlawful killing of a person in Islam is tantamount to the killing of all of mankind. 

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta, the country's top authority that issues religious edicts, also deplored the rampage, saying that bloodshed in Islam is more grave than the demolition of the holy Kaaba, Islam's most sacred site.

The shooting that killed at least 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando was claimed by the Islamic State group.

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