Egypt’s main Islamic authority has come out in support of the recent diplomatic and economic blockade on Qatar.
Users on social media criticised the move as “exploiting the religion” as Al-Azhar confirmed this week in a statement that it supports the move by Egypt and a number of Gulf States to isolate Qatar.
“Al-Azhar confirms its support for the joint Arab decision to break off relations with regimes, which support terrorism,” the statement read.
We look forward to the doubling of efforts of the Arab nation to stop the malicious attempts by some stray regimes, which pose a threat to the security and stability of the region.
“This is a dirty appropriation of religion and heritage… Sisi has already done the deed why does Al-Azhar have to become involved,” one Twitter user criticised.
“These days you can just pay and get yourself a fatwa,” another wrote.
“Unfortunately, the situation has reached this level of ridiculousness this is a religious institution what does it have to do with politics,” one social media user said.
To support its stance, Al-Azhar quoted from the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him): “The wolf eats the sheep that strays off on its own. Whoever deviates from the community deviates into fire.” Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have led a string of countries to cut ties with Qatar over accusations of its financing of extremist groups and its ties to Iran.Egypt then followed suit over Qatar’s alleged support for the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar has strongly denied the allegations against it and has called for talks to resolve the crisis.
Al-Azhar follows the decisions by the Saudi-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Muslim World League who have both expressed their support of the Qatar boycott.
Al-Azhar’s decision is unlikely to come as a surprise and has been long seen as a state mouthpiece where it often issues religious warnings in favour of the military and political figures.