Qaradawi calls on Muslims to protect Egypt’s churches

February 03, 2011 - 12:43:09 am

DOHA: Noted Islamic cleric, Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi, has called on prominent members of the Muslim clergy in Egypt to help protect the churches in the country which has a large Christian population, saying he suspected sinister elements might try to incite communal violence to divert attention from the anti-government demonstrations.

Al Qaradawi also said in a message addressed to Egyptians that the pro-Hosni Mubarak demonstration in Cairo was stage-managed by the powers that be and the ‘tiny number of demonstrators’ were mainly members of the secret police.

The scholar hinted that he suspected that to deflect attention of the people from anti-government demonstrations the vested interests in Egypt might try to incite communal frenzy.

“I, therefore, urge the officials of Al Azhar (the world’s most prominent Islamic religious institution) to come out and march in their religious robes with the message that the churches in Egypt must be protected at all costs,” the scholar said.

National unity is crucial for the country and there are chances that sinister elements might try to disturb peace and trigger communal frenzy to divert attention from the anti-government protests, he warned.

Talking of the parallel pro-Mubarak demonstrations in Cairo, the cleric said pooh-poohing and describing it as a gimmick: “They are just a few people trying to compete with the sea of the masses who have turned out against the dictatorial regime.”

The pro-government demonstrators are members of the secret police and the entire show is stage-managed. “It’s a gimmick,” he said, warning that such tricks wouldn’t work.

The cleric has also called the Egyptians not to give up their anti-government stance and turn out in large numbers all over the country after prayers on Friday in renewed protests.

According to Al Qaradawi, who heads the World Muslim Scholars’ Union, said international wire agencies have put the number of protesters all over Egypt at a staggering eight million.

He urged Mubarak to step down peacefully and warned that if he did not do so the protests would intensify. Describing the Egyptian parliament as fake, the cleric said constitutionally the head of the constitutional court should take over as interim president in place of Mubarak and ensure a smooth transition. The power must be transferred to the people, he said.

“It is the religious duty for every Muslim in Egypt to join the protest if he has no valid reason not to,” said the scholar. Present Mubarak has lost legitimacy because more than 90 percent of Egyptians want him out. Continuing protests would force the President to transfer the power to people,” he said.

“I ask President Mubarak to give up his arrogance and heed the public call and stop the bloodshed of innocent people.”

The scholar said more than 150 people have been killed and 4,000 injured. Besides, a lot of people are missing in the clashes between the protesters and security personnel.

The Peninsula