Members of the Saudi Arabia-based International Islamic Fiqh Academy, devoted to deciding issues of Islamic jurisprudence, attacked Egyptian Coptic Bishop Bishoy for statements he made last week in which he challenged the authenticity of certain Quranic verses.
"On behalf of Muslims and Islamic scholars worldwide, the academy’s secretariat expresses its great indignation and condemnation of these allegations, words and ideas, which represent a provocation to all Muslims," they declared in a statement issued on Wednesday.
"Is it not the duty of religious leaders to foster tolerance and peace rather than incite sedition and hatred within society?" they asked in the statement.
The academy further called on the United Nations to issue restrictions on freedoms of expression in the event that such freedoms "became a means to hurt others." They went on to describe the bishop's remarks as evidence of "a fear of a rising Islamic tide."
Meanwhile, a number of Egyptian protesters who had planned to stage demonstrations at Cairo's St. Mark's Church on Wednesday to demand Bishoy’s dismissal postponed the planned protest until Thursday. They also decided to stage their demonstration at a less controversial venue.
"Protesters consist of Egyptian patriots of both faiths who reject these attempts to tarnish the image of Egyptians,” said protest coordinator Paul Ramsey.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.