CAIRO - A global Muslim body has expressed concerns about the growing unrest in Egypt, urging all conflicting parties to exercise maximum restraint and calm to avoid plunging the heavyweight Arab country into a new cycle of violence.
"The conflicting sides in Egypt should not lose their self-control," Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), told Trend News Agency on Monday, July 1.
[They] should decide the fate of their country without violence via legal means, he added.
Ihsanoglu comments followed mass rival protests that erupted yesterday across different Egyptian cities and governorates.
The biggest protests were staged either by opponents of President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo's Tahrir Square or supporters in Nasr City's Rabaa al-Adawiya square.
The organizers of the opposition demonstrations claim that they have collected more than 22 million signatures for Morsi's resignation on the first anniversary of his ascent to power.
The supporters of the president also gathered for a mass rally in Cairo, "to support the legally elected president."
Though starting peacefully, violent clashes erupted later leading to the death of at least 16 people, according to an Egyptian Health Ministry statement.
The ministry statement added that 781 others have been injured in acts of violence in the capital Cairo and a number of governorates.
The biggest death toll occurred around the main headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Moqattam district in eastern Cairo when thugs and violent protesters attacked the building, using life ammunition and Molotov cocktails.
Eight people were killed at the headquarter by gunshots, Health Ministry said.
Protesters' stormed the building early Monday, stole its belongings and set it on fire.
Four people were also killed in Assiut, two in Fayoum, one in Alexandria and another in Beni Suif.
Saying he's been following up the recent developments closely in Egypt, Ihsanoglu called on Egyptians to deploy continuous efforts to achieve democratic transition in peaceful means.
He also urged all parties to work together in order to strengthen peace, security and stability of the country and keep its national interests above all other considerations.
A similar message was directed to Egyptian by prominent Muslim scholar Yousef Al-Qardawi in Al-Jazeera televised address on Sunday.
How long has Mohamed Morsi ruled? One year, Qaradawi said in a television address.
Is one year enough to solve the problems of 60 years? That's impossible... We must give the man a chance and help him.
Everyone must cooperate, the president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) added.
Qaradawi, the President of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), is one of the most influential scholars in the world and is known for his moderate views and is widely respected around the world.
He is also the chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and a trustee of the Oxford University Center for Islamic Studies.
Egyptian religious authorities, including Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni-Islam seat in the world, have warned of civil war in Egypt.
Opponents accuse Morsi of being inefficient to run the country and have launched a campaign to gather signatures of the Egyptian for early presidential election.But supporters accuse opponents of seeking to reinstall the regime of deposed president Hosni Mubarak.