Egypt religious officials respond to Ben-Gvir remarks on ‘extremist Islam’

Middle East Monitor  /  July 15, 2023

Former head of the Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar al-Shareef, Sheikh Abdul Hamid al-Atrash, on Friday slammed Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir over claiming that burning the Torah in Sweden is a result of “extremist Islam”.

Sweden gave permission early on Friday for a protest in front of the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm, during which protesters plan to burn copies of the Torah.

“I was surprised to hear that the Swedish police approved the burning of a Jewish Bible in front of the Israeli Embassy under the pretext of ‘free speech,'” Ben-Gvir said. “The damage to the sacred objects of Judaism is not freedom of expression, but antisemitism.”

He added: “I call on my colleague, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, to exert all his efforts against the regime and government of Sweden, who is dealing with extremist Islam threatening to take over his country, and prevent the burning of the Jewish Bible.”

Al-Atrash conveyed: “Hostility to the Holy Quran and Islam will never affect them at all. Such hostility has existed since the early age of Islam. This did not affect the Holy Quran or Islam, but was always a reason for spreading their light among new followers.”

Meanwhile, Sheik Saad Fiqi, former deputy of the Egyptian Awqaf Ministry, said: “Justifying the burning of the Holy Quran by Ben-Gvir over claims of extremist Islam while condemning the burning of the Torah as antisemitism is clear racism.”

The former deputy expressed that Islam: “Orders all of its followers to respect all holy books and not to make a difference among them or the messengers who received them from Heaven.”

Fiqi stressed that Israel is: “A rogue state that has been run by gangs since the early beginning until today. It does not respect holy books, holy sites or prophets. It will not remain forever. It will fade very soon.”