In an interview with Reuters, Dr. Shawki Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, said that religious institutions in Egypt do not seek to have tutelage over the government or the people but only seeks to activate the Islamic moral system regardless of who implements it. Dr. Allam said that intellectual security is to a large extent integral to societal stability which can only be achieved by eliminating terrorism and extremism. He affirmed that Islam is a religion of facilitation and tolerance as evidenced by numerous Qur`anic verses and Prophetic traditions.
Dr. Allam said that Dar Al-Iftaa has always fought extremism through intellectual confrontation. This is clearly evident in the fatwas that Dar Al-Iftaa has issued over the course of its history. He added that Dar Al-Iftaa has established a fatwa monitoring observatory to track and respond to infedilizing fatwas.
The Grand Mufti expressed the necessity of respecting the sovereignty of law and judicial decrees in order to avoid creating societal unrest. He added that the Egyptian legal system offers defendants numerous guarantees during the various stages of judicial proceedings, especially in capital crime cases. He further explained that whenever the court decides upon a death sentence, it submits the case file to the Grand Mufti for ratification. Even though the mufti’s opinion is consultative and not binding, he studies the case carefully and sends the court a memorandum containing his legal opinion. If, afterwards the court passes the death sentence, the defendant is entitled to challenge the sentence and seek a rehearing before another panel.
Concerning the multiplicity of the death penalties issued recently, Dr. Allam said that it is imperative to consider the committed crime which is murder before considering the punishment. He noted that retaliation is the appropriate punishment for unjustified murders when the accused is proven guilty.
The Grand Mufti further stressed the impermissibility of calling a blood thirsty terrorist organization “Islamic State”— its actions have nothing to do with Islam and such a designation will lead people into believing that these actions represent Islam when Muslims across the globe denounce them.
Dr. Allam urged international cooperation on all levels to fight terrorism. It is important, he said, to start with intellectual and cultural cooperation because such terrorist organizations take root in intellectually and socially unstable environments. He further added that it is impermissible to interfere in the internal affairs of another country under the pretext of terrorism.
At the end of the interview, Dr. Allam urged Muslims living in the West to integrate in the societies they live in and at the same time adhere to the fundamentals of Islam. He added that they should not seek to violate the social systems of the countries of their residence or destabilize them. Dr. Allam also addressed the Western media and asked them to use the correct designations when referring to terrorist organizations and to stop using the term “Islamic” when referring to them. He added that they should pursue accurate reporting and interview religious experts to avoid chaos, discord, and the spread of extremism and terrorism.