Ahmad Al-Tayyib is no radical on the fringes of Islam; he’s president of Sunni Islam’s highest center of learning, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and the former mufti of Egypt.
And he supports suicide bombings. Under the right conditions, of course. For example, when killing Jews.
Notice the religious basis for condoning this type of terrorism (he even admits it is “terrorism”). Al-Tayyib, like most Islamic clerics who have gone on record supporting suicide attacks, offers a contorted justification that the attackers aren’t really committing suicide at all. Instead, they are “martyrs” who please Allah and are granted entry to “paradise.”
Religiously-sanctioned suicide bombing, coming directly from one of the highest academic authorities in the Islamic world, broadcast on Egypt’s Al-Mihwar TV, October 10, 2007. (Courtesy of MEMRI TV.)
[Video no longer available.]
Ahmad Al-Tayyib: We do not permit the killing or terrorizing of peaceful people, when two countries, two armies, or two forces confront one another. This is forbidden, even if the Muslim forces are being defeated. But with regard to Palestine and Israel, this is not the case, and to say otherwise is to confuse things. We are facing a country, which is armed to the teeth with a hellish weapon…
Interviewer: It has lethal weapons.
Ahmad Al-Tayyib: Exactly. We are facing tyranny and oppression, while the world watches from the sidelines. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are defenseless and have nothing, and they want to defend their country, their faith, and their homeland. The only method they have is [martyrdom operations], and employing it is very difficult for them. Is it easy for a Palestinian to bring his life to an end? No, it isn’t. He too is a human being, who wants to live. What makes him resort to this method? It is not despair, as is claimed by many people who try to interpret martyrdom operations as suicide operation driven by despair. No. That is not true. The Palestinian martyrdom-seeker knows that he is free to go to this operation, in order to please Allah and enter Paradise, in defense of his religion, his country, and his land.