Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jews Condemn Statement by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood; Spiritual Leader Urges Muslims to Fight Israel; Israeli Lawmaker, Simon Wiesenthal Center Call on U.S. and EU to Take Action

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jews Condemn Statement by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood; Spiritual Leader Urges Muslims to Fight Israel; Israeli Lawmaker, Simon Wiesenthal Center Call on U.S. and EU to Take Action

Article excerpt

JERUSALEM - A fierce statement against Jews by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual guide drew criticism from an Israeli lawmaker Saturday, while a Jewish activist group called on Washington to cut contacts with Egypt over the issue.

Mohammed Badie said during his weekly message that Jews were spreading "corruption," had slaughtered Muslims and desecrated holy sites. He further called on Muslims to fight Israel, saying Zionists understood only force.

Israel has increasingly become concerned over its relations with Egypt as the formerly repressed Muslim Brotherhood has risen to power with the election of an Islamist president after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. The jitters come despite a pledge by newly elected President Mohammed Morsi that Egypt will abide by a 1979 peace accord with Israel.

Muslim Brotherhood members frequently make statements against Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem, accusing Jews of trying to smother the city's Islamic identity and calling on Muslims to rise up and protect the city and its holy shrines.

But Badie's statement was the first time the group's supreme leader has made such strong statements since Morsi's election. Morsi has avoided speaking of Israel in public, making only pledges to respect Egypt's international agreements.

Badie referred to long-standing Muslim calls to "defend" Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, a holy site for both Muslims and Jews. Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven from there, while Jews call the compound the Temple Mount because of the biblical Jewish temples that stood there.

"It is time for the Muslim (nation) to unite for the sake of Jerusalem and Palestine after the Jews have increased the corruption in the world, and shed the blood of (Muslims)," Badie said in comments published on the group's website and emailed to reporters on Thursday. …

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