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Al-Azhar calls for criminalisation of anti-Muslim actions

Egyptian Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyeb speaks during the opening session of a two-day forum entitled "Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies" on 9 March 2014 in Abu Dhabi. [KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images]
Egyptian Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyeb speaks during the opening session of a two-day forum entitled "Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies" on 9 March 2014 in Abu Dhabi. [KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images]

Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, yesterday called for "anti-Muslim" actions you be criminalised internationally, news agencies reported.

Speaking about French cartoons which insult Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Al-Tayyeb said "this is absurdity" and "denial of responsibilities, moral commitment, international customs, public law and a clear direct hostility to this religion [Islam]."

Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet, Al-Tayyeb announced a research competition on the "morals of the chosen Prophet" (PBUH) and his major historical contributions to "love and peace".

He also called for international law to criminalise hostility to Muslims and discrimination against them and their religious figures.

He went on to call on Muslims in the West to "positively integrate into their societies, while preserving their religious and cultural identity."

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The Grand Sheikh reiterated: "Without the Prophet Mohammed, all humanity would have remained in the dark. He is the mercy for humankind."

He also said that Al-Azhar strongly rejects the use of anti-Muslim sentiment to rally votes in elections, pointing to a "fierce and systematic campaign to involve Islam in political battles".

He concluded: "We do not accept to make our symbols and religious figures victims for a cheap bargaining chip in the political markets and for electoral campaigns. I say to those who justify offending the Prophet: The real crisis is your double stands and narrow agenda."

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