- The Washington Times - Friday, March 15, 2013

A religious leader in Saudi Arabia says killing Syrian President Bashar Assad is justified, and Muslim scholars should band together and issue a fatwa.

Sheikh Ayed al-Qarni told the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia and educators with Al-Azhar University in Egypt to condemn Syria’s government — and that assassinating Mr. Assad was justified, The Jerusalem Post reports. Mr. Assad deserves to die, the cleric said, because he’s overseeing the widespread killing of civilians, which runs counter to Islam teachings.

On top of that, the cleric said, Syrian refugees had reported that Mr. Assad was forcing civilians to bow down to a picture of him.

“That is why all Syrians have to fight this regime,” he said, to the news outlet Al-Arabiya. “The Syrian youth should take up arms against the regime.”

His remarks followed calls from others to join the government. On Sunday, a leading Sunni Muslim group in Syria had called on Syrians to take up arms with the military, The Post reported.