'Go to hell': Egypt's Al-Azhar blasts French anti-Semitism manifesto
A senior official in Egypt's top Islamic authority has slammed a controversial French manifesto that calls for certain passages of the Quran to be redacted.
Deputy to the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Abbas Shoman, said on Wednesday that the signatories of the open letter should "go to hell", local daily al-Masry al-Youm reported.
"The people making these strange, perverse and unacceptable demands must correctly understand God Almighty's book," Shoman urged.
"If they rely on their misguided understanding they can go to hell with their wrong ideas," he added.
The manifesto published on Sunday in the Parisien newspaper blamed "Islamist radicalisation" for what it said was "quiet ethnic purging" in the Paris region, with abuse forcing Jewish families to move out.
The nearly 300 signatories, who include ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy and former prime minister Manuel Valls, called for Quranic verses that support the "murder and punishment of Jews, Christians and disbelievers" to be removed.
Shoman said the demands were "unjustified" and that the signatories had failed to understand the meaning of the Islamic holy book.
"The Quran does not contain any verses that command the killing of anyone that has not committed a crime that necessitates that, such as premeditated murder," the Sheikh said.
"The Quran is not responsible for people misunderstanding its meaning" he added.
Al-Azhar is one of the most prestigious institutes of Sunni Islam in the world.
The manifesto has also sparked anger from French Muslims, who have said their religion was being unfairly "put on trial".
Tareq Oubrou, imam of the Grand Mosque of the southern city of the Bordeaux, pointed out that Islam was not the only religion whose ancient holy texts contain anachronistic passages.
"Any number of holy texts are violent, even the Gospel," Oubrou said.
Muslims believe that the Quran is the permanent word of God that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in the Arabic language.