CAIRO, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Egyptian officials have condemned an Islamic fatwa that calls for the death of former international nuclear agency head Mohammed Elbaradei.
Supporters of Elbaradei, a former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nobel Peace Prize winner who plans to run in the presidential elections next year, condemned the religious ruling that accused him of sedition and operating against President Hosni Mubarak's regime, Asharq-al-Awsat, an Arabic newspaper with headquarters in London, reported Tuesday.
"We, in Egypt, are a people that for the most part follow the religion of Islam, and anybody reading Elbaradei statements can see that these call for civil disobedience and incite civil unrest against our Muslim ruler (President Hosni Mubarak) … regardless of the status of Egypt's ruler in the eyes of some people, he is the ruler and so should be listened to and obeyed … . Therefore Elbaradei and others are not entitled to make such statements (calling for civil disobedience)," the fatwa posted by Sheik Mahmoud Amer on the Web site of the Muslim movement Ansar al-Sunnah-al-Muhamadiya says.
The ruling calls on Elbaradei to "declare his repentance for what he has said … otherwise the ruler is permitted to imprison or kill him in order to prevent sedition," the newspaper said.
"This fatwa is completely wrong, and fatwas that call for death should not be issued freely as this leads to killings," Abdul Mouti Bayoumi of the Islamic Research Academy of Al-Azhar University told the newspaper.
"This fatwa is an indication that Egyptian, Arab and Islamic society is on the verge of further deterioration, with the tolerant religion of Islam being used to intimidate figures and threaten their lives, rather than providing security, stability, and respect," Ahmed Bahaa Shaaban, a leading member of Elbaradei's organization the National Coalition for Change, told the newspaper.