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To read this item by foremost Middle East and Islam specialist Raymond Ibrahim, Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum, originally published at the Middle East Forum Blog, kindly click on the link below:
Egyptian Cleric: ISIS Grows out of Islamic Mainstream
Cross-posted from Coptic Solidarity
Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr heads a group of former Al Azhar graduates who support a civil government.
After being asked why Al Azhar, which is in the habit of denouncing secular thinkers as un-Islamic, refuses to denounce the Islamic State as un-Islamic, Sheikh Nasr said:
It can't [condemn the Islamic State as un-Islamic]. The Islamic State is a byproduct of Al Azhar's programs. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic? Al Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world [to establish it]. Al Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate. Al Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things like not building churches, etc. Al Azhar upholds the institution of jizya [extracting tribute from religious minorities]. Al Azhar teaches stoning people. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?
Al Azhar, which the New York Times calls "Sunni Islam's leading religious institution," refuses to denounce ISIS as un-Islamic.
Ibn Kathir is one of Sunni Islam's most renowned scholars; his Beginning and End is a magisterial history of Islam and a staple at Al Azhar. It is also full of Muslims, beginning with Muhammad, committing the sorts of atrocities that the Islamic State and other Islamic organizations and persons commit.
Is it possible at this sensitive time — when murderous terrorists rest on texts and understandings of takfir [accusing Muslims of apostasy], murder, slaughter, and beheading — that Al Azhar magazine is offering free of charge a book whose latter half and every page — indeed every few lines — ends with "whoever disbelieves [non-Muslims] strike off his head"?
Raymond Ibrahim is a Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum