JAFFA, Israel – A top Egyptian cleric sparked outcry after declaring that Ahmed Zewail (pictured), an illustrious Egyptian-American scientist who died last week, was an infidel who should not be mourned.
Zewail, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1999, was the first Arab Nobel laureate in history and a lifelong champion of science education in the Middle East, especially in his native Egypt.
Egypt organized a state funeral for Zewail on Saturday, held in the presence of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and other dignitaries.
Wajdi Ghuneim, a pro-Muslim Brotherhood cleric exiled in Turkey, accused him of religious abandon.
“There is evidence that he was an infidel – by virtue of working for the infidels and collaborating with them against the Muslims,” Ghuneim said.
He said that Zewail colluded with the Jews and the Christians against the Muslims, which the Quran bans, and therefore should not be mourned or prayed for.
The Egyptian Fatwa Council roundly condemned Ghuneim’s remarks, saying he tarnishes the nation’s image by lambasting its greatest scientist.
“The world has become aware of the dangers of accusations of infidelity and of the use of political struggles to undermine political rivals,” the council said in a statement. “Using religion as a political tool has wreaked havoc on the Muslim and Arab nation, as a result of violence that fatwas such as this encourage. It’s an attempt to harm the security and stability of the homeland.”
Social media users were also critical of Ghuneim.
“He is an ignoramus who hasn’t the slightest knowledge and understanding of religion,” Kehtan tweeted.
@MahmoudySalem جاهل يفتي بغير علم و لا يعرف ضوابط العقيدة
— قحطان الجبوري (@kehtan62) August 7, 2016
Dimitri called Ghuneim out on his alleged hypocrisy: “Qatar [one of the Muslims Brotherhood’s chief sponsors] has a huge American military base, which makes the Qataris infidels too.”
— Dimitri V (@d_v47) August 7, 2016
“Shame is when Ghuneim says Dr. Zewail is an infidel for working with Americans,” Walla tweeted. “May Allah punish you for that.”
العره النطع وجدي غنيم يكفر الدكتور العالم احمد زويل
لانه كان بيشتغل وبيعاون الامريكان😂😂
حسبنا الله ونعم الوكيل
— wala2 Badwi (@Wala2Badwi) August 7, 2016
“That ignoramus Ghuneim issues a fatwa saying Zewail’s memory should be cursed because he assisted the infidels,” Abdelrahman wrote. “You fool, Zewail was a scientist who worked with the Americans and didn’t help them fight against Muslims, you primitive fool.”
الجهول وجدي غنيم يكفر أحمد زويل ويفتي بجواز لعنه لأنه ظاهر الكفار يا غبي زويل رجل علم كان يعمل ولم يعينهم على حرب المسلمين يا هبل يا متخلف
— Abdelrahman (@bniadmm) August 8, 2016
“Ghunaim, the lapdog of the morally bankrupt Muslim Brotherhood, says that the scientist Ahmad Zewail, Allah bless his soul, is an infidel,” Ahmad Alqassimi tweeted. “It sends a clear message to all the morons who support the Muslim Brotherhood.”
وجدي غنيم كلب الاخوان المفلسين، يكفر العالم احمد زويل رحمه
نسخه الى المعتوهين الذين يناصرون الاخوان
— Ahmad AlHaj AlQasimi (@AhmadAlQaassmi) August 8, 2016
Abd Elaziz Gouda wrote: “Who are you to decide who is a believer and who isn’t?! History will forever remember the Egyptian-American scientist Dr. Ahmad Zewail.”
ومن أنت حتى توزع صكوك الإيمان والكفر على خلق الله ؟!.. سيظل التاريخ يذكر العالم المصرى الأمريكى د. أحمد زويل… https://t.co/shJhP0zhO6
— Abd El-Aziz Gouda (@A_Aziz_Gouda) August 8, 2016