LIBYA: Popular TV cleric issues fatwa against Kadafi
Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, issued a fatwa on live television (Arabic link) Monday night urging the Libyan army to kill the country's embattled leader, Moammar Kadafi.
"It is not heroism to fight your people and to hit them with missiles," Qaradawi said in an interview with Al Jazeera, which also hosts his popular show, "Sharia and Life."
Libyan security forces waged a fierce attack on demonstrators in the two major cities of Tripoli and Benghazi on Monday, with many reports that the regime had ordered air strikes against protesters.
Those assertions were bolstered by news that two Libyan fighter jets had landed in Malta on Monday and that the pilots were seeking asylum after refusing orders to bomb demonstrators who had taken control of Benghazi, according to the Times of Malta.
"I say to my brothers and sons who are soldiers and officers in the Libyan Army to disobey when [the government] gives orders to kill the people using warplanes," the cleric said. "I now issue a fatwa urging officers and soldiers who can to kill Moammar Kadafi."
"Shoot him down and relieve the people and the country of his burden," he added. "This man wants to annihilate the people."
--Meris Lutz in Beirut