Sheik of Al-Azhar, Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi spoke on Lebanese New TV about suicide operations. The following are excerpts:
Interviewer: Will you issue a fatwa about the resistance and especially what is happening in Iraq?
Sheik Tantawi:I was very clear: Anyone defending his right, his land, his money, and his religion and gets killed is a martyr. Anyone who blows himself up amongst the enemy that wants to kill him and he can find no means of defending himself except blowing himself up amongst these soldiers who are occupying his land and destroying his home, and so he blows himself up amongst these aggressive soldiers, is a Shahid, Shahid, Shahid.
Interviewer: Are you going to issue a fatwa on this matter?
Sheik Tantawi: I have issued fatwas 1,000 times. Do I still have to issue fatwas?
Interviewer: There are preachers in mosques in Iraq who say that anyone who kills an American will enter Paradise. Do you intend to issue such fatwas?
Sheik Tantawi: Don't specify countries and names. I determined a general rule which is based on religious law and that applies to everybody. Anyone who blows himself up amongst an enemies who want to destroy his home and attack his land, and so he blows himself up amongst them, is a Shahid, Shahid, Shahid.
Interviewer: Honorable Imam, we ask?
Sheik Tantawi: And before I forget, I have made these statements not from today, but for the past five years, and I have not recanted them.