Egypt's Muslim authorities disown fatwas on killing Jews
Egypt's Muslim authorities have stepped in to keep a wave of anti-Semitic sentiment from getting out of control, disowning an edict by a firebrand cleric calling for Israeli Jews to be killed.
On the eve of last week's truce in the month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah, cleric Safwat al-Higazi issued an edict calling on worshippers to kill "any Zionist anywhere in wartime".
Speaking on the religious satellite network Al-Nas, the Cairo imam specified that the use of "fire arms, knives and poison" should be preferred to suicide bombings "in order to spare innocents".
Higazi later limited the edict to Israeli Jews, whom he said were all reservists in the army and therefore legitimate targets.
"I myself am ready to slash the throat of any Israeli I meet," he told the Sawt al-Umma newspaper.
Popular resentment over the Israeli offensive in Lebanon is close to boiling point in Egypt, one of only two Arab countries to have a peace treaty with the Jewish state.
Al-Azhar mosque, the leading theological authority for many Sunni Muslims, had to step in with a counter-fatwa and banned Higazi from preaching at Friday prayers.
"Killing Jews on the Egyptian territory would be a terrorist act," said the edict, issued three days after Higazi's.
However, the Al-Azhar fatwa said nothing about killing Jews in other countries.
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