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Egypt: Contribution by Muslims to Build a Church Allowed in Islam

(Aug. 26, 2009) Sheikh Mohammed Tantawi, head of the prestigious Muslim university Al-Azhar in Cairo, asserted that a Muslim is permitted to contribute to the building of a church and that it is not correct to depict the building of churches as a sinful act or an offense under Islamic law. Dr. Tantawi was commenting on a fatwa (a kind of a legal opinion) attributed to the Egyptian institution Dar Al-Ifta', the official body in charge of issuing opinions on matters of Islamic law.

Tantawi's comments were expressed during a meeting held on August 19, 2009, with a delegation of the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights, headed by Nejib Gebrael, who objected to the fatwa in question. (Sheikh Al-Azhar: Contribution of a Muslim to Build a Church Is Legally Permitted [in Arabic], the Free National Movement of Lebanon website, Aug. 21, 2009, available at [conduct search in Arabic].)