Egypt religious institution Dar Al-Ifta condemned Wednesday the murder of American journalist Steven Sotloff describing it as a “horrendous act by Al-Qaeda separatists to distort the image of Islam and Muslims worldwide”, reported state-owned Al-Ahram.
The group released a video on Tuesday showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff. The video ended with warnings that another, British hostage can face execution.
US National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said Wednesday that US intelligence agents had analysed the video of the beheading and has judged it authentic, according to Reuters.
Last month a similar incident occurred as American journalist James Foley was executed on video by the same group, causing an international outcry.
Senior assistant to Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawky Allam, Ibrahim Negm, published an article Wednesday on the institution’s official English website, titled “Is brutally killing people a part of an Islamic state?”
In the article, he commented on the latest acts of murder by Islamist militants in Iraq, saying that clear religious verses in the Quran prohibit murder and suicide. He emphasised the value of human life in Islam, saying that one life is worth the lives of an entire nation, and that “God views murder as a major sin, condemning the offender in the afterlife.”
The governmental controlled institution, responsible for issuing religious verdicts, has been a vocal opponent to Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria.
An international social media campaign was launched by Dar Al-Ifta to “clarify the image of Islam across the globe due to the terrorist group’s violence acts”. The campaign was also to ensure that “all Muslims reject these practices that are contrary to the principles of tolerant Islam, which calls for coexistence.”
Allam announced last August that the group named “Islamic State” (ISIS) should be referred to as “Al-Qaeda separatists”.
ISIS currently controls vast territory in Syria and Iraq and has targeted civilians in both countries, also engaging in fighting with US, Iraqi and Kurdish forces.