Rabbi Tantawi and Leading Egypt Rabbies Back Gaza Tunnel Barrier

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01/01/2010 A council of leading Muslim clerics has supported the Egyptian government’s construction of an underground barrier along the border with Gaza to impede tunneling by smugglers, a report said on Friday.

The Islamic Research Council of Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning, said that the tunnels were used to smuggle drugs and threatened Egypt’s security, the Al-Masri Al-Yawm newspaper reported.

“It is one of Egypt’s legitimate rights to place a barrier that prevents the harm from the tunnels under Rafah, which are used to smuggle drugs and other (contraband) that threaten Egypt’s stability,” the paper quoted the clerics as saying.

“Those who oppose building this wall are violating the commands of Islamic law,” they added, after a meeting attended by Egypt’s top cleric Sheikh Mohammed Said Tantawi, who is a government appointee.

Hamdi Hassan, an Islamic member of the Egyptian parliament, has filed a lawsuit against President Hosni Mubarak demanding a halt to construction of the barrier, the newspaper reported.

Earlier this week, the chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi slammed the barrier as an “unjustified crime” and as such was banned by Islam.
Sheikh Qaradawi said, in a statement, that the barrier Egypt had begun constructing was meant to “pressure the Palestinians in Gaza to surrender to Israel.”

“What Egypt is building these days on its border with Gaza is a prohibited act from the Islamic perspective,” the prominent Islamic scholar said. “It aims to close off Gaza and tighten the siege imposed on it people so that they give in to the Israeli demands,” Sheikh Qaradawi added.

Sheikh Qaradawi also called on the Egyptian government to open its Rafah border crossing point with Gaza, noting that opening the border point was a “religious and legal duty” of Egypt toward the Gazan people. “Rafah is the only lifeline for the people of Gaza. Egypt should open it rather than suffocating the Palestinians and collaborating with others to kill them.”

The scholar also appealed to both the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to pressure Egypt to stop the construction of the Wall. “The Wall is one hundred percent against the Palestinians and playing into the hands of the Israeli enemy one hundred percent,” he concluded.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

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