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Egypt's Al Azhar Calls For Jihad If Iraq Attacked

Egypt’s Al Azhar, the most respected Sunni Muslim seat of learning, has called for a “jihad” by Muslims around the world in the event of a US-led war on Iraq. “Everyone believes that aggression against Iraq is inevitable,” Al Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy said. “According to Islamic law, if the enemy steps on Muslims’ land, jihad becomes a duty on every male and female Muslim,” it said in a statement obtained by Reuters on Monday. Jihad means “holy struggle,” which could include efforts to help the community or the restraint of personal sins. A call to jihad is not necessarily a call to violence. “Our Arab and Muslim nation is facing a new crusade campaign,” the statement said. “Al Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy calls upon Arabs and Muslims throughout the world to be ready to defend themselves and their faith,” added the statement, signed by the academy’s secretary-general, Al Sayyed Wafa Abu Aggour. Statements such as these by Al Azhar Mosque and university reflect the views of its clerics and are not binding on Muslims. An academy member said the statement was not a call for aggression. “The concept of jihad is limited to legitimate self-defence,” said Ahmed Kamal Abul Magd, an expert on Islam. Full Story

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