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Top Muslim cleric says war against Iraq is not 'new crusade'

Egypt’s top cleric has rejected a statement from a research institute affiliated with his prominent Islamic university that called war against Iraq (news – web sites) a “new crusade” and urged holy war against Islam’s enemy, his office said Monday. Omar Bastaweissy, office manager of Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, said Tantawi has repeated often since the Islamic Research Center’s statement last week that “there is nothing called ‘new crusade,’ and the use of such word now is unjustifiable and completely rejected.” Tantawi, considered by many to be Sunni Muslims’ highest religious authority, was referring to a March 10 statement in which the center said that according to Islamic law, “if the enemy descends on the land of Muslims, jihad (holy war) becomes an Islamic obligation on every male and female Muslim because our Arab and Islamic community will be facing a new Crusader battle targeting our land, honor, faith and nation.” Full Story

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