EGYPT. TOP MUSLIM CLERIC SAYS DEATH PENALTY SHOULD NOT BE ABOLISHED
|Grand Sheikh Muhammad Sayd Tantawi
December 4, 2007: One of Egypt's prominent Muslim leaders has rejected calls to abolish the death penalty, saying it is an intrinsic part of Islamic law.
Muhammad Sayd Tantawi is the grand sheikh of the Egyptian Islamic University of al-Azhar, one of the most presitigious Islamic universities in the world.
"The death penalty is one of the orders of Allah, abolishing it means abolishing one of the rules dictated by Allah," Tantawi said in an interview with the local newspaper al-Ahram.
"We at al-Ashzar will fight this proposal in every way through our experts should it become a legal proposal."
According to the Egyptian imam, the presence of the death penalty in the judicial system of the country does not exclude the possibility of defending human rights.
"This penalty is part of the guarantees given by Sharia for people's protection, for their well-being and their honour," Tantawi said.
"The Koran says this is one way of making life more secure."
Stressing that the death penalty is also explored in the sacred texts of other religions, the sheikh does not exclude the possibility of applying it in specific cases.
"The existence of the death penalty does not mean it should be applied in every case," he said. "Based on the crime committed, you need to evaluate the situation and the possibility of having recourse to other types of penalties." (Sources: AKI, 04/12/2007)