Egypt's Islamic institutions speak out ahead of Rabaa anniversary

Egypt's Islamic institutions speak out ahead of Rabaa anniversary
The Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa and the al-Azhar Islamic institution have both spoken out against protests and the Muslim Brotherhood as media interest intensifies on the anniversary of the Rabaa massacre
2 min read
14 August, 2015

The Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa, the state authority that issues official fatwas [religious advisory opinions], has issued a fatwa on Thursday morning deeming "non-peaceful protests that damage state institutions" haram, or impermissible in Islam.

"Clashing with the society and adopting destructive views have nothing to do with Islam", the fatwa said, calling on all the "righteous people of Egypt not to listen to calls for clashes and destruction by prejudiced parties".

The statement also stressed that "destructive calls" from abroad would not resonate in Egypt because the Egyptian people have "rejected terrorism and terrorists forever".

Dar al-Iftaa then added that the only way to thwart destructive plots in Egypt was through "internal unity, societal solidarity, and the continuing deconstruction of takfirist thought".

"Egypt's rulers have not murdered anyone"
- al-Azhar statement

The fatwa was issued one day before the second anniversary of the Rabaa massacre, when security forces shot dead at least 700 hundred supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi as they dispersed a sit-in at the Rabaa al-Adawiyah square in August 2013.

Morsi, the country's first democratically elected leader, ruled for only a year before mass protests prompted the military to overthrow and detain him. He has since been sentenced to death.

On Friday, in anticipation of protests commemorating the second Rabaa anniversary, the Egyptian police bolstered their presence in Cairo and other major cities. Police officials said they were deploying in main streets and government buildings.

Rights groups have said that police used disproportionate force, killing many unarmed protesters in what Human Rights Watch said "probably amounted to crimes against humanity."

In Egypt however, the government has always defended the violent dispersal, insisting that the Islamists were armed "terrorists".

On Tuesday, al-Azhar released a statement saying that Egypt's current rulers "have not murdered anybody," and that the leaders of the "fanatic Muslim Brotherhood" and their allies had deliberately instigated attacks against the armed forces for their support of a popular uprising.

The statement, dubbed the "Mahrousa Communique", charged Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders with sedition and inciting violence through lies, propaganda and a warped interpretation of Islam.

It came in response to the "Kenana Communique" or (Egypt call), launched and signed by MB-affiliated clerics who announced the religious stance on Egypt's "criminal and murderous regime".

Al-Azhar called the Kenana Communique a "fallacy" that included "false allegations against the religion of Islam and concealment of facts".