Egypt / Israel JAFFA, Israel A top Egyptian cleric has called on his followers not to rejoice at the widespread forest fires that have plagued Israel for the past week.
Mazher Shahin, a faculty member at the prestigious Al Azhar Seminary in Cairo, said in a television interview that gloating at someone elses misfortune, in this case Israel, contravenes Sharia law.
The sages ruled that gloating at the enemys misfortune is prohibited, he said. Israel isnt the biggest enemy of Egypt and the Muslims, at least it hasnt been since the peace treaty was signed. Egypts main enemy today is Qatar, who libeled the Egyptian army [a reference to a documentary film broadcast last week on the Qatari network Al Jazeera], Turkey that undermined our tourism industry, and the groups that attack our troops in Sinai.
Erdogan deserves our hostility more than Israel, he added. If only these fires started in Turkey and Qatar.
Shahins comments sparked such a backlash that Al Jazeera organized a panel made up of critics of the Egyptian government to respond to them.
Ayman Noor, a member of the Egyptian opposition, called on Shahin to be defrocked and put on another robe thats more in keeping with his opinions.
Egyptian author and journalist Waiel Qandil, one of the leaders of the 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak, said he regretted having once considered Shahin a friend of the revolution.
Allah please forgive my sins, especially my biggest sin which led me to defend Sheikh Shahin and invite him to speak at Tahrir Square, he said.