The Middle East Media Research Institute highlighted on August 29 a video clip originally aired on August 26, in which Dr. Sallah Sultan, founder of the American Center for Islamic Research in Ohio, called for the death of the Israeli ambassador to Egypt. His call came in response to wide-scale Egyptian protests following an Israeli raid on militants in the Sinai Peninsula, in which five Egyptian officers were killed. While the protests demanded the ruling Egyptian military council to expel the ambassador, Dr. Sultan went further:
As someone who has studied Islamic law, specializing in Islamic jurisprudence, I am calling to kill the [Israeli] ambassador, not just expel him. Our sons were killed in our country, on our land, and our sons are being killed in Gaza by an occupying enemy. Brothers and sisters, the genuine rulings of Islamic law can no longer be silenced. I am prepared to confront any Islamic scholar who says otherwise.
The link to the MEMRI report can be accessed here.
I spoke with Dr. Abd al-Mu‘ti Bayyumi, member of the Islamic Research Academy at the Azhar. While Dr. Bayyumi did not recognize the name of Dr. Sultan, he expressed shock at the statement, which he declared demonstrated Dr. Sultan was not a proper Islamic scholar.
Bayyumi stated that the Israel ambassador resides legally in Egypt on the basis of a diplomatic visa, which was granted by the Egyptian government. In sharia law this represents ‘aqd al-aman, or a compact of security, which guarantees safety to the beneficiary. By calling for the violation of this compact through killing the ambassador, Dr. Bayyumi stated Sultan’s words were not a legal ruling, but backwardness.
Bayyumi believed the Egyptian government must study the issue of what took place on the Israeli border, and then take appropriate steps based on its findings. To begin, there should be a joint investigation between the two nations. If it is found that the Israeli soldiers killed the Egyptian officers accidentally, Bayyumi stated sharia law proscribes each victim be compensated the equivalent of 4 ¼ kilogram of pure gold. If it is found the officers were killed deliberately, then Egypt must take steps commensurate with the assault on its dignity.
Inasmuch as an official investigation has not yet been conducted, Bayyumi stated that any number of political outcomes are possible. Perhaps the ambassador could be expelled, or the Egyptian ambassador to Tel Aviv could be withdrawn. It would also do well for the two nations to take another look at the Camp David treaty to amend it so as to provide better security for both Egypt and Israel. He stressed, however, that this was his opinion, and that this was a political matter and not one of Islamic jurisprudence.