The Islamic Research Academy has said that Hashem Islam, the cleric who made controversial comments this week claiming he was a member of the Fatwa Committee of Al-Azhar, is not associated with Al-Azhar and has summoned Islam for questioning.
The Islamic Research Academy, supreme body of Egypt's highest Islamic authority, Al-Azhar, released a statement on Thursday, saying that while Islam introduced himself as a member of the Fatwa Committee of Al-Azhar during a forum held a couple of days ago, he is simply an imam in Daqahlia governorate.
At a forum held at the Egyptian Diplomatic Club on Tuesday, Islam made comments inciting violence against anticipated anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations planned for 24 August. He said that protesting against the elected president would be tantamount to "high treason against their nation, God, his prophet and Muslims."
"So, I say stand up against them. If they fight you, fight them back … if they kill some of you, the victims will go to heaven and if you kill them, that would be righteous," Islam added.
In response to these statements, the Islamic Research Academy wrote in its statement, "The religion Islam prohibits bloodshed and making damages to their properties and honour."
Salem Abdel-Gelil, secretary of the ministry of religious endowments, stressed he is also not affiliated to the ministry in any way, and also condemned his comments.
Some of the forum's attendees voiced disgruntlement with his speech, which they described as inflammatory as well as inciting violence. Well-known political figures such as former presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei and member of the dissolved parliament Mohamed Abu-Hamed, who is among those calling for the protests, also condemned Islam's provocative statements.
Rumours have recently circulated that the demonstrations organised for next Friday would target the Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters. Protest organisers, however, have stressed that the planned demonstrations would be peaceful.