Senior Egyptian cleric condemns Sept. 11 attacks

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2001

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- The grand sheik at Egypt's foremost Islamic institution has condemned those who applauded the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and said supporters of the act lack wisdom and honor.

''Those who support aggression and injustice, whoever they are, they are not wise people,'' Mohammed Sayed Tantawi said Monday. ''There is no human being who has even a very little bit of honor who supports this crime.''

Tantawi, appointed by the government to lead the mainstream Sunni Islam institute, allows the possibility Osama bin Laden is to blame for the Sept. 11 assaults, but does not accept it as a certainty.

Tantawi has said previously that bin Laden expresses only his personal view of holy war and doesn't represent Islam.

''If he is a terrorist ... then we are against him,'' Tantawi said.

Since Sept. 11, Tantawi's relatively moderate Friday prayer sermons have often been followed by worshippers' anti-American rhetoric or rallies.

Many Muslims continue to oppose the U.S. military campaign to hunt down bin Laden, and many in the Mideast are demanding to see evidence of bin Laden's involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Tantawi has previously backed suicide attacks on ''aggressors,'' meaning Israel citizens.

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