A leading scholar from al-Azhar said on Friday that protesting is forbidden in Islam. Saeed Amer, head of the Fatwa – religious opinions – Committee at Al Azhar, Egypt and the Sunni Islamic world leading Sunni institute told al-Shourok newspaper that demonstrations that cause violence is “Haram,” or forbidden, within the religion. Amer added that even peaceful protest is also forbidden.
“As for peaceful demonstrations it is rejected in Islam as Islam never witnessed such phenomena,” al-Shourok reported. Al-Azhar is the most influential Islamic institution in the country, however, in recent years it has become more in line with the government and most Egyptians have ignored fatwas that have been released. When asked about what thinks about the deaths caused by state security violence, Amer said that if the police was defending the country, then it is okay and those who die will be judged by God.
“Only God knows if the deceased, civilian or police, is a martyr,” the newspaper quoted him saying. His comments come as Egyptians continue mass demonstrations aimed at ousting President Hosni Mubarak from power. According to reports on the ground, over 100 people have been killed since protests began on January 25.