Saudi Grand Mufti urges Egyptians to avoid bloodshed

RIYADH Wed Jul 3, 2013 8:19am EDT

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi ask people to back up and stop clashes against members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Mursi during demonstrations in front of the Presidential Palace ''Qasr Al Quba'' in Cairo July 2, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi ask people to back up and stop clashes against members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Mursi during demonstrations in front of the Presidential Palace ''Qasr Al Quba'' in Cairo July 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

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RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti, the highest religious authority in the birthplace of Islam, urged Egyptians on Wednesday to cooperate in order to avoid bloodshed as an army deadline nears to resolve the country's political crisis.

"Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, called on the intellectuals and reasonable people of Egypt to cooperate with each other to put right the situation the country is going through, and to resolve the problems with wisdom and reflection, to suppress bloodshed," state news agency SPA reported.

It added that Al al-Sheikh urged Egypt's opposing sides to meet to urgently find a solution to the crisis.

His statement came hours before a deadline set by the army for Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to yield to mass protests and share power or give way.

Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Egypt before its 2011 revolution, has not commented on the crisis in Egypt.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia's official Wahhabi school are both proponents of austere versions of Sunni Islam, they have very different political philosophies.

(Reporting by Angus McDowall, editing by Gareth Jones)

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