CAIRO - Prominent Sunni Muslim scholars called Thursday, June 13, for Jihad against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, describing his crackdown on anti-regime protests as a war on Islam.
"Jihad is necessary for the victory of our brothers in Syria, read a joint statement issued by scholars and read by Egyptian preacher Mohamed Hassan, Reuters reported.
Jihad with mind, money, weapons; all forms of jihad.
Scholars from across the Arab world met Thursday in Cairo to discuss ways of helping the anti-Assad opposition in Syria.
They called for using all means to ensure victory of the Syrian opposition forces against Assad.
Hassan said more than 70 organizations represented in the meeting had called for "support, whatever will save the Syrian people"
Leading among attendees in Thursday's meeting were Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, and Sheikh Hassan al-Shafai, from Al-Azhar.
Earlier this month, Qaradawi called on Sunni Muslims to join opposition forces in their fight against Assad's regime.
The two-year fighting between Assad's forces and anti-regime fighters has killed more than 93,000 people.
The fighting has forced more than one million Syrians to flee their home to neighboring countries in addition to the displacement of two millions others inside the country.
War on Islam
The Sunni scholars denounced the deadly crackdown by the Assad's regime and his Shiite allies as a war on Islam.
"What is happening to our brothers on Syrian soil, in terms of violence stemming from the Iranian regime, Hizbullah and its sectarian allies, counts as a declaration of war on Islam and the Muslim community in general," Hassan said.
Hizbullah, a close ally of Iran and the Syrian regime, is openly engaged in the fight against the anti-regime forces in Syria.
Hizbullah fighters helped Assad's forces retake the strategic town of Qusair near Homs on the Lebanese border last week from opponents drawn mostly from Syria's Sunni majority.
The Lebanese group has already lost dozens of its men in the battle for Qusayr.
Last month, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed to propel Assad to victory in Syria's civil war.
The Shiite leader also pledged that Hizbullah will turn the tide of the conflict in Assad's favor, and stay as long as necessary to do so.
Hizbullah's involvement in the Syrian conflict has drawn widespread condemnations from Muslim scholars.
On Tuesday, Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayyeb condemned Hizbullah's support for the Assad's regime.
Qaradawi also denounced Hizbullah, which means the party of God in Arabic, as the "party of Satan".
Two months ago, two Salafi scholars in Lebanon have called for Muslims to join the Syrian opposition to fight against Assad's regime over Hizbullah's involvement.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has also condemned Hizbullah's role in the conflict in Syria.
There is no end in sight to the conflict in Syria, which has divided world powers.
Russia and Shiite Iran support Assad, while the United States, along with some European and Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab nations back a fractured opposition.Damascus and some of its opponents have said they will consider peace talks, but no meetings have been arranged.