Scholars in Al-Azhar Condemn Beheading of American Civilian

May 12, 2004


On May 12, 2004 reported, "Several scholars from Al-Azhar, the world's highest Sunni religious authority, condemned the decapitation of an American civilian by unknown people in Iraq, saying Islam stands against such acts. 'Islam respects the human being, dead or alive, and cutting off the American's head was an act of mutilation forbidden by Islam,' Ibrahim Al-Fayoumi, a member of Al-Azhar's Islamic Research Academy, told He cited a number of verses from the holy Qur'an which affirm giving due respect to dead people regardless of their race or religion. However, Fayoumi suspected the whole episode was 'an American propaganda to divert attention from the scandal of the U.S. military abuse of Iraqi detainees.' A video put on a website linked to Al-Qaeda shows the beheading of Nicholas Berg with his executioners saying it came in revenge for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops."