Influential Islamic scholar from Al-Azhar condemns suicide bombings, July 12, 2003

An influential Islamic scholar, Sheikh Mohamad Syed Tantawi of Cairo’s Al-Azhar university has condemned all attacks by suicide bombers, Malaysian local media reported on Saturday.

Speaking to journalists at an international conference of Islamic scholars in Putrajaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Sheikh Mohamad said groups who practised extremism and carried out suicide bombings were enemies of Islam.

Islam was opposed to all forms of extremism such as violence, the occupation of someone else’s land, the destruction of buildings and the killing of innocents, he said.

This included the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US where innocents were killed, he said.

“These people are wrong,” he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

“It is our responsibility as ulama (Islamic scholars) to condemn the attacks of September 11 as a criminal act,” he said.

“Terrorism in all its forms should be condemned, whether it is committed against Muslims or non-Muslims.”

He said the concept of jihad, or holy struggle, could not be associated with terrorism and extremism.

“Jihad in Islam means to defend one’s self and to help others who are oppressed. Jihad and extremism are not alike, the difference between them is like the sky and the earth,” he was quoted as saying by the Malay Mail.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday July 12, 2003.
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