Brotherhood-Linked Cleric Forbids Voting in Egypt Referendum
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Muslim Brotherhood-linked cleric Yusef al-Qaradawi issued a religious decree prohibiting Egyptians from voting in a referendum to be held next week by the military-installed interim government.
Islamist supporters of deposed president Mohamed Mursi had already called for a boycott of the January 14-15 vote on a new constitution drawn up by the interim authorities since his July overthrow by the army.
But the Egyptian-born Qaradawi, who wields huge influence through his regular appearances on Al-Jazeera television from his base in exile in Qatar, said that participation would go against Islam because it would mean colluding with a "sin".
"Participation in the constitutional referendum -- and contributing in any way to strengthening this coup authority, or giving it legitimacy, or prolonging its existence and strengthening its presence -- is cooperating in a sin and an act religiously forbidden," the cleric said in the fatwa issued late on Tuesday.
Qaradawi, who has been based in Qatar since he was stripped of his citizenship decades ago, had already issued a fatwa calling on Egyptians to restore Mursi to his "legitimate post".
He briefly returned to his homeland in February 2011, days after the overthrow of veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak, and delivered a sermon in Cairo's Tahrir Square, epicentre of the uprising, AFP reported.
The cleric is wanted by Egypt's interim authorities and faces trial in absentia.