Egypt presidency condemns killing fatwa as 'terrorism'

Ahram Online , Thursday 7 Feb 2013

Egypt's presidential office condemns political violence and hate speech, following a recently released religious edict that permits the killing of political opponents

Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt’s presidential office has condemned the practice of or invitation to political violence, as said in a Thursday statement.

The released presidential statement comes two days after a cleric from Al-Azhar issued a religious edict – on air – giving the green light to kill opposition leaders Mohamed ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabbahi.

"Practicing religious violence or threatening to do so has become one of the gravest challenges facing the Arab Spring," the presidential statement said.  "Egyptians must join hands to avoid the danger of civil strife and face attempts to spread division."

"Some are promoting and inciting political violence while others who claim to speak in the name of religion are permitting ‘killing’ based on political differences and this is terrorism," read the statement.

The presidency "stresses on its complete rejection of hate speech which attributes itself to religion," calling on all national forces, religious institutions and intellectuals to stand together against "inciting" language, the statement asserted.

Sources told Al-Ahram Arabic language news website that security will be increased at the residences of prominent opposition forces, especially after the assassination of leading Tunisian leftist politician Chokri Belaid in Tunisia on Wednesday.

Sources told Reuters that forces were in fact stationed in front of both ElBaradei and Sabbahi's homes.

Egypt is undergoing a period of political unrest since the second anniversary of the 25 January Revolution when clashes between protesters, rioters and police left over 50 dead – mostly protesters – in the days following the anniversary.

The Egyptian government is accused by the opposition of relying on Mubarak-era repression in the face of popular discontent across the country.

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