FLORENCE: The West has an interest in the “fragmentation” of the Islamic world and is partly to blame for the rise of Islamic State, one of the world’s top Muslim clerics told AFP in an interview on Tuesday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a seminar in Florence, Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo, strongly criticised Western powers and particularly the United States.
Describing himself as “an ordinary citizen” as the Sunni Muslim seat of learning has no political role, the imam said: “The emergence of Daesh (an Arabic term for IS) in such a spontaneous manner leads us to ask what are the deep causes.
“And the man in the Arab street thinks that the West has something to do with it. The arms Daesh has are American, they are not made in the Arab world.
“IS developed so quickly and that required enormous amounts of capital. Where did these enormous sums of money come from. The man in the street says the West is not serious about taking on Daesh.”
In support of this theory, Tayeb cited three parachute drops of arms which ended up in the arms of IS fighters.
Asked about the Syrian and Iraqi Christians forced to flee their homes at the hands of IS, the imam replied: “IS has killed more Muslims than Christians.
“If you look at the percentages of victims, you will see that IS is an enemy of the Arab and Muslim world, and is perhaps working in secret coordination to fragment the Arab world.”
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