Egypt's highest Islamic authority, al-Azhar, on Wednesday condemned Western military "aggression" in Libya but said it supported what it called the legitimate demands of the Libyan people's revolution.
Azhar, one of the oldest seats of Sunni Islamic learning, warned the United States and Britain against "dividing Libya and destroying its natural and human wealth, as happened in Iraq," the state Al Ahram newspaper said.
But the Cairo-based body also condemned Arab governments who oppressed citizens for decades. It said their leaders should not stay in office if that would lead to more bloodshed.
"They should leave their posts. That is the least they can do to repond to their people, who have endured them and been patient for so long," the paper quoted a statement as saying.
While Western air power has grounded Gaddafi's planes and pushed back his troops and armour from the brink of rebel stronghold Benghazi, disorganised and poorly equipped insurgents have failed to capitalise on the ground and remain pinned down.
Arab backing for a no-fly zone was crucial for the passage of the United Nations resolution allowing foreign military intervention in Libya.
But no Arab country except Qatar has said it would contribute to the operation.
Azhar condemned Arab and Islamic institutions for a failure to address political and economic problems, which in turn led to the wave of popular uprisings shaking the Arab region.