And Tantawi ain’t the only one:
Not gonna play well in Cairo
“Lo! those who disbelieve, among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters, will abide in fire of hell. They are the worst of created beings.” — Qur’an 98:6. So why would the Grand Sheikh want to shake hands with one of them, and a wicked Zionist to boot?
“All shaken up,” by Andrew M. Rosemarine for the Jerusalem Post, December 28 (thanks to James):
The leading cleric in Sunni Islam, Grand Imam Sheikh Muhammad Sayid Tantawi, rector of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, is coming under increasing pressure from Egyptian opposition forces to resign, for shaking hands with Shimon Peres, at a Saudi-sponsored UN conference in November in New York. Israel’s enemies in Egypt did not like seeing a photo of their most famous sheikh being friendly with Israel’s president. Hatred of Israel is particularly virulent in Egypt now, because of constant coverage of the deprivations of the citizens of Gaza.
“The hand that shook Peres’s hand is tainted with the blood of Palestinians and reeks of the smell of their corpses,” commented independent Egyptian newspaper al-Dustour recently. It called for Tantawi “to purify his hands,” by resigning. The message had particular force, as it was issued on Id al-Adha, when Muslims concentrate on purification from sins. Other papers have also called for him to step down.
An Egyptian MP, Mustafa Bakri said, “This meeting was like Al-Azhar’s clear normalization with the Zionist enemy… In the past, the sheikh has insisted on meeting with rabbis, with Rabbi [Yisrael Meir] Lau at the top of the list, but his meeting with the Zionist president is demeaning to all Muslims.” Another MP, Hamdi Hassan, insisted Tantawi apologize to the entire world.
But…but…it was all a mistake, says the embattled Jew-hater:
TANTAWI ORIGINALLY claimed “I shook his hand without knowing what he looked like. The handshake was in passing… because I don’t know him.” But a photo shows them smiling at each other. Tantawi now says : “And suppose I knew him? So what… Isn’t he from a country that we recognize?”
Tantawi is not known for his love of Israel, and even called for jihad against it, after excavations two years ago at Temple Mount. His Islamic credentials are beyond question, but hatred of Israel is unbounded in many Islamist circles, both Sunni and Shi’ite. Clerics in the Iranian parliament have also denounced the sheikh’s handshake.
To his credit, he does attend multifaith conferences. (I’ve met him at one myself, and he even shook my hand!) Less laudible, he is reported to have accused, on Egyptian TV, Ma’ariv’s editorial staff of being “liars and sons of 60 dogs” for reporting that he had taken the initiative in approaching Peres….
“Liars and sons of 60 dogs.” Well, the man can turn a phrase.