In the recent weeks, the Cairo-based Al-Azhar institution, the leading center of religious learning and supreme source of religious authority in the Sunni Muslim world, and senior members of this institution, have been voicing support for Hamas and for terrorism and inciting against the U.S. and Israel, while using virulently antisemitic rhetoric. For example, a fatwa (religious ruling) recently issued by Al-Azhar praised the Palestinian resistance and even called on Israeli Arabs to join the struggle against Israel, saying that this country is destined to perish. Senior Al-Azhar clerics, including Muhammad Omar Al-Qady, dean of the Faculty for Islamic and Arabic Studies at Al-Azhar University, and Abbas Shuman, formerly the deputy of Sheikh Al-Azhar and currently the inspector general of the institute's fatwa committees, incited against Israel and made antisemitic remarks, calling the Jews "descendants of apes and pigs," "killers of the prophets" and "enemies of humanity" and hoping for their perdition. Al-Qady also directed his invective at the U.S., calling it the "greatest Satan" and a "mafia" state with a "drunken" president.
These statements are part of the unreserved support for Hamas that has been voiced by Al-Azhar since the latter's October 7 terror attack in southern Israel, in which some 1,400 people were killed and about 240 were kidnapped. In a statement it issued on the day after the attack, Al-Azhar "saluted" Hamas' massacre, and in subsequent statements it claimed that the media coverage of the attack was fraudulent and that supporting the Palestinians with money, resources and gear is a "religious duty." In addition, perhaps due to Egypt's fear of being inundated with refugees from Gaza, Al-Azhar called on the Gazans not to leave their land, saying that martyrdom is preferable to migration.
It should be noted that the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Tayyeb, is known for his extremist positions and support for terrorism and terrorist organizations, and refuses to promote moderate religious discourse as part of the fight against extremism. This is despite his frequent participation in interfaith dialogue and although he signed the Document on Human Fraternity along with Pope Francis in 2019.
The following are examples of the antisemitic and inciting rhetoric spread by Al-Azhar and its senior members against Israel, the U.S. and the Jews in the last few weeks.
Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb (Image: Facebook.com/OfficialAzharEg, October 2, 2023)
Al-Azhar Fatwa: The Occupying Entity Will Perish And The Lives Of The Martyrs Will Be Longer Than Those Of Their Murderers
On October 18, 2023, Al-Azhar's "Global Center for Online Fatwas" posted a fatwa on its Facebook page which predicts Israel's demise. The fatwa expresses support for Hamas' terrorism, calling it "resistance," and states that "the term 'civilians' does not apply to the Zionist settlers of the occupied land," which can be read as religious permission to target them. The fatwa also encourages Israeli Arabs to join the struggle against Israel, which it calls "a cancer in the heart of the Islamic Arab nation," and urged the Arab and Islamic peoples to support the Palestinians. The following are translated excerpts from the fatwa:
"…In its steadfastness, resistance and persistent adherence to its land, the Palestinian people continue to present a model of heroism, despite the danger of the arbitrary Zionist bombardment. It [also] places the world – which remains silent, neglects or [even] encourages these crimes – in a great human and moral predicament, removing the fake mask of humaneness from its ugly face.
"The term 'civilian' does not apply to the Zionist settlers of the occupied land. Rather, they are occupiers of the land who usurp rights, disregard the ways of the prophets, and attack the holy sites in historic Jerusalem and the [sites of] Islamic and Christian heritage there…
"The world deliberately ignores the fact that the occupying Zionist entity is a cancer in the heart of the Islamic and Arab nation. According to international conventions and laws, occupying forces have no right to the land, the resources and the holy sites [they are occupying], and their aggression must necessarily be met with resistance against their usurpation, oppression and tyranny.
"The current resistance activity is a new link in the ongoing chain of the Palestinian people's struggle against the terrorism of the occupying and usurping Zionist entity…
"The Palestinian interior [i.e., the Israeli Arabs] must join ranks against this despicable occupier and cleave to their just [Palestinian] cause, without fearing the occupation's vicious means and ways… which are destined to disappear…
"The Arab and Islamic peoples must not abandon their Palestinian brothers but rather support them with all their might, each according to its ability, standing and influence…
"Oh proud Palestine and our blessed Jerusalem… in times of distress, Allah will provide succor. The occupying entity will perish and the lives of the martyrs will be longer than those of their murderers. Allah's promise is truth and his victory will come…"
Faculty Dean At Al-Al-Azhar University: May Allah Bring Perdition Upon The "Cursed," "Treacherous" Jews, "The Descendants Of Apes And Pigs"
Addressing Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel in a series of posts on his personal Facebook account, Muhammad Omar Al-Qady, dean of the Faculty for Islamic and Arabic Studies at Al-Azhar University, made virulently antisemitic remarks, glorified the jihad in Palestine and wished perdition upon the Jews. One of the posts, headed "Al-Aqsa Flood" (Hamas' name for the attack), read: "[When I say] resistance I mean the jihad fighters in Palestine, who defend their honor and land, those who fight against their enemy and ours, namely the Jews… This honorable resistance, which is waging jihad and will be rewarded [for it] by Heaven, has made achievements and brought about changes, the most important of which can be briefly summarized as follows:
"It brought the Palestinian issue back to the center of global attention, after it had almost disappeared and been forgotten… It managed to shatter the false myth about the might of the Israeli army and prove that it is weak and exhausted… It proved that the entire West – with the exception of the peoples – is a single community, especially the governments of the greatest Satan, America, and of the European countries, who follow the orders of the Zionist lobby that is part of [the camp of] our treacherous enemy… It managed to eliminate, if only for a while, the vast enterprise of [Israel's] normalization with many Arab and Islamic countries, which was making large and rapid strides… [The resistance] also made additional achievements, which will be discussed in the future. I ask Allah to strengthen His soldiers and his camp and grant our brothers in Gaza, in Palestine and in the rest of the Muslim countries victory over their enemy and ours, the enemy of Allah and humanity, the cursed descendants of apes and pigs [i.e., the Jews]."
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In another post Al-Qady wrote: "Allah, bring perdition upon the cursed and treacherous [Jews], the murderers of prophets, of rulers and of decent people, and on whoever helped them and agreed to their deeds…"
The U.S. Is The Greatest Satan; "Its Drunken President Biden Arrogantly And Wantonly Extends Absolute Support To The Usurping, Immoral State Of The Descendants Of Apes And Pigs
In a post headed "The Greatest Satan!," Al-Qady slammed the U.S., writing: "It is naïve and foolish to expect victory or justice from [the U.S.] – a state whose forefathers were criminals, murderers, thieves, rapists, robbers and villains, riffraff from all over the world that Columbus released from the prisons of Europe – or from the mother of that Satan, [namely] Britain. [Columbus] brought them to the American continent and they murdered its people and exterminated its owners, the Indians. Then they established a state that is more like a gang of criminals or the global mafia, which became the thug of the world and the greatest Satan, and the countries of Europe became its gangs.
"Since its establishment this country has corrupted and exterminated entire nations, and destroyed and eliminated everything in them, [both] the state and the people… They recognize nothing but their own interest. They excuse all the damage and ruin they sow using lies, fabrications and a lack of moral restraint, and silence the world with coercion and tyranny. After World War II this country reached the peak of fabrication and usurpation. Today they have increased their tyranny [even more], while exploiting the fear of other countries that follow them like sheep. We saw their drunken president, Biden, arrogantly and wantonly extending absolute support to the usurping and immoral state of the descendants of apes and pigs [i.e., the Jews], and giving them permission to complete the extermination of the wretched people of Gaza…"
Abbas Shuman, Inspector General Of Al-Azhar's Fatwa Committees: "Rejoice In The Demise Of The Descendants Of Pigs"; The Zionists Are Worse Than Rabid Dogs
Abbas Shuman, formerly the deputy of Sheikh Al-Azhar and currently the inspector general of Al-Azhar's Fatwa committees, likewise slammed Israel and expressed support for Hamas' terror attack, gloating over the suffering caused to Israel. For example, on October 7, the day of the attack, he shared a post in which he praised it, writing, “Allahu Akbar, long live the noble Palestinian people. Allah will inflict defeat on the oppressive occupation and shame and disgrace on the Zionists and their supporters.”
Additional posts over the following days were equally vitriolic and even antisemitic. For instance, on October 17, 2023, Shuman wrote, “I knew that the Zionists had no morals, but I didn’t imagine that they were filthier and more despicable than rabid dogs…”
On October 18 he posted, “…The situation has reached the point of bombing hospitals, after the murder of children and even of fetuses, and [has reached the point where] the great satans [i.e. the world leaders] have come to Palestine to publicly support the Zionists. Rejoice in the demise of the descendants of the pigs.”
Lecturer At Al-Azhar University: The Jews Of The World Can Be Resettled In Southeast Russia; Aiding Palestine Is A Religious Duty Of Every Muslim
In an October 19, 2023 article in the Egyptian daily Al-Usbu', Dr. Ahmad Karima, a lecturer on Islamic law and comparative jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, stated that "aiding Palestine is a religious duty of all Muslims, a national duty of the Arabs, both Muslim and non-Muslim, and a moral obligation," which must be carried out by the Muslim armies, according to their ability and the assessments of the rulers, by the wealthy Muslims, according to their financial ability, and by the clerics and experts, according to their rhetorical ability. Later he described his own efforts in supporting the Palestinian cause, including by publishing books and studies on Palestine and Jerusalem, as well as books on jihad.
In the second part of the article Karima set out to inform the world that the Jews already had a homeland before they came to Palestine, namely Birobidzhan in Russia, but they managed to conceal this from the world and took over the Palestinians' land. He suggested to send all the world's Jews to Birobidzhan, including those now living in Palestine.
He wrote: "The first Jewish republic, Birobidzhan, is in southeast Russia. Most of the world is ignorant of its existence, because Israel does everything in its power to conceal this fact and prevent the media from visiting this republic, which was the Jews' first homeland in the world. They migrated there before [they came to] Palestine, before the idea of Zionism and settling the Jews in Palestine arose. What Israel and the Western countries fear is that the idea of the Jews' return to their original homeland, [namely to] this republic, will spread, and the world will become convinced that the Jews living in Palestine should safely return to the Republic of Birobidzhan and live there in security and peace…
"The area of the Republic of Birobidzhan, which is an autonomous area in Russia, is 41,277 square kilometers, as large a European country like Switzerland, and it is sparsely populated… It can accommodate all the world's Jews, including those who are stealing the land of Palestine. If this happens, perhaps the tragedy of the Palestinian Arabs, who were expelled [from their homeland] and are scattered all over the world, will end, thus facilitating their return to Palestine. This idea is at odds with the goals of global Zionism and of the Western countries, which benefit from Israel's presence in the Arab homeland and the Middle East. For Israel's existence is based on the mutual benefit [that the Jews and the West derive from it] in defending the West's interests, while relying [on Israel] to periodically wage proxy wars against whoever threatens [the Western interests], chiefly the Arabs…
"Global Zionism thus deceived the whole world when it claimed during World War II that the Jews urgently needed Palestine as a national homeland because they were scattered all over the world and had no national homeland where they could live. They used this as an excuse to expel the Palestinians and take over their lands… What is strange in this context is that the Arabs do not talk about this fact and the Arab citizen knows nothing about it… [We] can spread this information [about Birobidzhan] as a homeland that can reabsorb the Jews of Palestine, and let the Palestinians return to their land, Palestine. Why is this [information] concealed? And why do the Arabs and Muslims remain silent in the face of this truth?!"
 See Special Dispatch No. 10834 - Egypt's Al-Azhar Salutes Hamas Terror Attack In Which Over 600 Israelis Were Killed, Over 100 Were Kidnapped, And Over 2,000 Were Wounded – October 8, 2023.
 Facebook.com/OfficialAzharEg, October 11, 12, 18, 2023.
 In the past Al-Tayyeb stated, for example, that suicide attacks by Palestinians against Israelis were legitimate acts of self-defense, for, as long as Israel, the "barbaric enemy," continued to attack the Palestinians with Western and American backing, the Palestinians were entitled "to blow up whatever they want." About the September 11, 2001 attacks, he said that there was no proof that Osama bin Laden was responsible for them and hinted that Israelis may have been behind them. On another occasion he claimed that the Muslims had initially condemned the attacks, but later their feelings changed because the U.S. had used the attacks to target them. He also stated that fundamentalist terrorist groups were produced by imperialist forces in the service of global Zionism.
Moreover, Al-Azhar under Al-Tayyeb refuses to accuse Muslim terrorists of heresy – which would have deprived them of religious justification for their violent actions – thus undermining the efforts of Egyptian President 'Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi to promote moderate religious discourse.
See MEMRI reports:
Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1505, Dispute At Al-Azhar's 'International Conference On The Renewal Of Islamic Thought' Reflects Institution's Long-Standing Rejection Of Religious Reforms In Egypt, March 20, 2020;
Special Dispatch No. 7598, Egypt's Al-Azhar Sheikh Al-Tayyeb, In Official U.K. Visit, Meets With Queen, Archbishop Of Canterbury, Discusses Interfaith Coexistence: Al-Tayyeb's Antisemitic, Anti-Christian, Anti-Shi'ite, Anti-Gay Statements From The MEMRI Archives, July 31, 2018;
Special Dispatch No. 7376 - Egyptian Religious Establishment Continues To Refuse To Accuse Islamic Terrorist Organization Activists Of Heresy – March 9, 2018;
Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1326 - In Egypt, Clashes Between The Institution Of The Presidency And The Institution Of Al-Azhar – August 21, 2017;
Special Dispatch No. 5910 - Al-Azhar: The Islamic State (ISIS) Is A Terrorist Organization, But It Must Not Be Accused Of Heresy – December 21, 2014.
Clip No. 4488, Sheik of Al-Azhar: Global Zionism Behind Islamist Terror Organizations, September 8, 2014.
 Facebool.com/fatwacenter, October 18, 2023.
 Facebook.com/drmalqady, October 17, 2023.
 Facebook.com/drmalqady, October 18, 2023.
 Facebook.com/drmalqady, October 18, 2023.
 Facebook.com/abbaasshouman, October 7, 2023. In another post he shared on the following day (October 8, 2023), he sarcastically advised the Israelis to erase the Sabbath from the days of the week, the month of October from their calendar, and the numbers six and seven, in a reference to the surprise attack that marked the start of the Yom Kippur War on October 6, 1973, and the terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, 2023, and to the heavy price Israel paid in both instances (Facebook.com/abbaasshouman, October 8, 2023).
 Facebook.com/abbaasshouman, October 17, 2023.
 Facebook.com/abbaasshouman, October 17, 2023.
 Elosboa.com, October 19, 2023.