Egypt's former grand mufti, Ali Gomaa, has stoked controversy once again by likened the June 30 coup, which prematurely ended the term of the country's first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi to the victory granted to Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) in Makkah.
In an interview reported by CNN Arabic, Gomaa said that the revolution is one of the days of Allah, a day when God honoured the believers and made them victorious. It is like "the opening of Makkah and the day of the birth of the Prophet Muhammrd where God removed the despair of the nation from the devils," he added.
This isn't the first time Gomma has used his position to excuse the brutality of the Egyptian regime using religious slogans. Previously he encouraged Egyptian soldiers to kill protestors saying: "Shoot them in the heart … Blessed are those who kill them, and those who are killed by them . . . We must cleanse our Egypt from these riffraff … They shame us … They stink. This is how God has created them. They are hypocrites and seceders … Stand your ground. God is with you, and the Prophet Muhammed is with you, and the believers are with you … Numerous visions have attested that the Prophet is with you. May God destroy them, may God destroy them, may God destroy them. Amen!"
It's comments like this that have made the once respected scholar a target of campaign groups who want to prosecute him for using his religious position to incite violence against anyone opposing the regime. It was reported that Gomma had cancelled a trip to the UK for fear of being legally prosecuted under "international criminal jurisdiction". A similar campaign persuaded former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, along with a former military commander, from entering Britain. The Israeli officials became worried that their role in the Gaza onslaught of 2008-2009, which killed nearly 1,500 Palestinians, would lead to their arrest.