- The unofficial website of Egypt's Al-Azhar University,
www.lailatalqadr.com, continues to post anti-American statements made
by the university's clerics and professors pertaining to the U.S. war
against terrorism. Moussa Hal, a reporter for the website, compiled these
statements and published them in a number of articles entitled "Islamic
clerics in Egypt declare war on America."(1) The following are excerpts
from the site:
- Hal reported that Sheikh Ali Abu Al-Hassan, head of
Al-Azhar's Religious Ruling Committee, said, "It is the sense of
danger that unites the West. They have put together a coalition against
Islam. They sense danger only from Islam. This feeling has united them
against a single enemy, which is Islam. Why, therefore, should we ourselves
not unite? ... We, Oh Nation of Islam, are all targeted by our enemy...
Why should we not unite, therefore, around the cry, 'There is no God but
Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah' and fight our enemy?..."
- "Entering into an alliance with the Americans against
Afghanistan constitutes Ridah [that is, turning away from belief in Islam,
for which the punishment is death, with no possibility of clemency]...
The Afghan opposition [forces] must not put [their] hand in the hand of
the Americans; they must stand with their countrymen [and] their co-religionists,
otherwise Allah and his angels will curse them..."(2)
- On another occasion, Abu Al-Hassan told Hal, "There
is no doubt that this is a case of a hostile state fighting us, and we
must resist it... Resistance in this case is by all possible means, even
by means of war. If the enemy sets foot on the lands of Islam, he must
be fought. In this case, a man must set out [on a Jihad] without the
permission of his father, a woman without the permission of her husband,
a debtor without the permission of his lender, and a slave without the
permission of his master. Islam urges us to set out on a Jihad for the
sake of Allah until we accomplish one of two good things: martyrdom or
- "When Islam is attacked, there are no borders. Jihad
in this instance is an obligation for all Muslims... In this instance,
the aggression is against Islam and therefore it is the obligation of
all Muslims, not only the local residents, to protect this piece of land..."
- "The Afghans have the right to defend themselves,
and we are obliged to help them and to defend them as best we can from
the cruelty of the American attacks. Islam has commanded us to support
our Muslim brothers under attack, and to fight the Jihad alongside them
against the polytheists, with our souls and with our property..."(3)
- Dr. Abd Al-Azim Al-Mut'ani, Al-Azhar University lecturer,
stated, "This war is a criminal attack, genuinely similar to the
first Crusader wars, which the West waged in the Middle Ages under the
rallying cry of defending the Christian pilgrims, when their actual target
was Islam and the Muslims. Now, the U.S. has declared a war on Afghanistan,
under the rallying cry of fighting terrorism, when the actual goal is
to harm Islam and to wipe it off the face of the earth..."
- "The Islamic world must stand by the oppressed...
The [Islamic] peoples must fulfil their obligation towards Islam and
towards Muslims. The battle is a battle of the peoples and they are the
ones who drive the rulers to do their duty. If the armies of Islam do
not do their duty with regard to this invasion of Islam, they must be
- In another article, Al-Mut'ani discussed the differences
between Jihad and terrorism: "Terrorism is a modern term. In Islam,
the meaning of terrorism is intimidation, not all intimidation is forbidden
by religious law... In the modern age, when [different] kinds of oppression
and persecution emerged, some ethnic groups in almost every society were
stripped of their rights. When they insisted on their rights, and [when]
the despotic regimes rejected them - the oppressed and persecuted found
no way to express themselves but by means of [various] kinds of rebellion..."
- "The most recent example of the so-called terrorism
are the recent attacks against America. Whatever the interpretations may
be, no one disagrees that America is the one who killed and was killed.
It is America that killed itself with its distorted policy. It was completely
successful in sowing hatred and loathing in the hearts of [people] of
the entire world by means of its policy, a policy of double standard,
primarily in all things regarding Islamic and Arab affairs... At this
point, I would like to give two examples: the problem that occurred between
East Timor and West Timor. The Muslim side was the stronger side. America
went berserk and mobilized all the international institutions to defend
the non-Muslims. Within 24 hours there were United Nations troops in addition
to special forces from the U.S. at the scene. America did not stop until
it had achieved its goal... In contrast, it allows Israel to slaughter
Palestinians and to destroy the mosques...America did not lift a finger
to save the Palestinian people. After all this, America still wants Allah
to give it security. [Yet] it is the one that attacked itself because
it angered the world."
- "What America has done against Afghanistan is a
crime, and one of the most loathsome kinds of international terrorism.
[This is] interfering in others' domestic affairs, which is not accepted
both by the monotheistic religions and by the laws [made by man]... We
could have stood with America had it sought a precise definition of terrorism
and had it established statutes of punishment for terrorism in the UN.
After that, every state could have sought the terrorists within its own
jurisdiction. But that the U.S. should carry out this mission [by itself]
- no, no, a thousand times no! Even if the present regimes support America,
these regimes are only passing clouds. They do not enjoy stability; stability
is in the hands of the peoples..."
- "What America is doing now is world terror waged
against the weak. Even if the Islamic peoples are not worthy of the support
of Allah - because they themselves do not support Him - the forces of
tyranny deserve to be defeated."(5)
- Dr. Abd Al-Sabour Shahin also discussed the differences
between terrorism and Jihad: "The truth is that the way Islam uses
the word 'terrorism' is honorable, as Allah said: 'Make ready for them
whatever you can of armed strength and of mounted pickets at the frontier,
whereby you may daunt the enemy of Allah and your enemy.' The terrorism
mentioned in this verse refers to intimidation or threat, not necessarily
to damage. For this reason, accusing Islam or Muslims of terrorism is
mistaken, because Muslims as a nation are the symbol of peace in the world
and the Muslim nation has never attacked a neighboring nation..."
- "There is a huge difference between terrorism and
Jihad. Jihad is a general term that includes Jihad by means of words,
Jihad by means of leadership, and Jihad by means of war. War is only on
behalf of the nation and in accordance with its decision, and not according
to the decision of an individual. What is happening with the Palestinians
is a Jihad that is legitimate according to religious law, aimed at defending
the Islamic holy places. What the Afghani people is doing in response
to the aggression is also a Jihad that is legitimate according to religious
- Dr. Abd Al-Hay Al-Farmawi, a lecturer, referred to the
American campaign in Afghanistan as follows: "The American attacks
on Afghanistan are terrorism, oppression, repression [and] barbarism,
and can even be called bullying. The American missiles were directed at
innocents among the defenseless Afghani people. America is doing this
without presenting any proof of Osama bin Laden's guilt. This proves that
this war, as Bush said, is a crusader war against Islam and Muslims. We
must awaken before the U.S. forces reach us."(7)
- To this, Dr. Yahyah Isma'il, the official spokesman of
the Al-Azhar clerics, added, "This war is a war against Muslims and
Islam. Everyone must offer help to the mujahideen brothers in Afghanistan.
They should not be abandoned in the tragedy to which they are subject."(8)
In a similar vein, the Islamic Sheikh Youssef Al-Badri called on "Muslims
to declare a Jihad against the Americans. We all must prepare for Jihad,
because the strikes will reach even us, in many Islamic countries. What
America and the West have done is an international crime.... a great
crime against humanity. This is a war against Islam, as the leaders of
the West and the leaders of the U.S. have said. We have no choice but
to declare our own position: Are we with Islam or are we with Bush? The
answer is what will determine the fate of the Islamic nation in the new
- (1) www.lailatalqadr.com, October 11, 2001.
- (2 )Ibid.
- (3) Ibid, October 18, 2001.
- (4) Ibid, October 18, 2001.
- (5) Ibid, October 15, 2001.
- (6) Ibid, October 22, 2001.
- (7) Ibid, October 11, 2001.
- (8) Ibid, October 11, 2001.
- (9) Ibid, October 11, 2001.
- The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is
- independent, non-profit organization that translates
- analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles
- and documents cited, as well as background information,
- available on request.
- The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
- P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
- Phone: (202) 955-9070
- Fax: (202) 955-9077
- E-Mail: email@example.com