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Al-Azhar on Wednesday urged Egyptians to participate in the referendum on the new constitution on 15 and 22 December, stressing that participation is a religious duty.
“We want Egypt to be a consensual, constitutional, democratic and modern state,” said Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb.
He called for maintaining the integrity and transparency of the referendum, and for avoiding all forms of violence. “Counterfeiting the will of the people is religiously prohibited,” he said. “And all political forces should accept the result of the referendum.”
Sheikh Hashem Islam, a member of the Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, issued a fatwa that says objection to the constitutional declaration that President Mohamed Morsy issued on 8 December is haram (forbidden in Islam).
The fatwa also considered haram the position of the judges who reject the supervision of the referendum, and called them traitors to God and His Messenger.
The fatwa also said that Islam obliges the whole Muslim Umma to obey, support and respect the leaders that came through free popular legitimacy.
The same sheikh had triggered controversy in August when he issued a fatwa saying that the protesters who are demanding the toppling of Morsy’s regime should be combated.
Opposition forces reject the referendum on a draft constitution that they say was written by a Constituent Assembly dominated by Islamists. They demand the formation of a balanced assembly to draft a consensual constitution.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm