Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb told the Muslim Brotherhood that legitimacy could not be gained by “blood or chaos,” in a statement on Saturday night televised on State TV.
In his first reference to the organisation by name, Al-Tayeb said non-violent Brotherhood members still have a chance in shaping Egypt’s future if they “work for national peace” and “protect their country from strife.”
Al-Tayeb said the current strife had been planned by “external regimes,” and assured that Al-Azhar would remain unbiased.
The Grand Imam asked army and police forces to protect the lives of non-violent protesters, and to deal with the violent ones within the limits of the law.
“Political differences do not mean anybody is a traitor,” he added.
Al-Tayeb also addressed Christians and said the burning of churches is not from Islam “by any means.”
Media advisor to the presidency, Ahmed El-Moslimany, said the Grand Imam’s statement is “a great message from a dignified Imam”, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.