Brussels attack: Grand Mufti of Egypt condemns 'plague' of terrorism

The Grand Mufti of Egypt has condemned the terrorist attacks claimed by ISIS in Brussels, saying that such heinous acts can never be justified by religion.

Injured people are seen at the scene of explosions at Zaventem airport near Brussels.Reuters

"Terrorism knows no borders and is a plague on all of us," Grand Mufti Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam told Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs today, expressing his solidarity with the victims' friends and families.

"We must work hand in hand to dismantle terrorism. Dialogues like this one are a step in the right direction," he said, stressing that "words must translate into actions."

The Grand Mufti, Egypt's primary religious authority, named education as the solution to terrorism.

"Correct education is the right answer to ignorance and extremism," he said, explaining that he had set up a specialist centre to challenge extremist views online by providing an authentic interpretation of Islam. The unit engages with youth through facebook and online videos in 10 languages.

Amid praise for the Grand Mufti, MEPs did criticise the weak rule of law in Egypt, hasty death sentences and other grave human rights violations in Egypt's judiciary, highlighting that "we cannot fight terrorism with terrorism."

Islamic State claimed responsibility for attacks on Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train in the Belgian capital on Tuesday which killed at least 30 people, a news agency affiliated to the group said.

The Amaq agency said suicide bombers from the group, strapped into explosive belts, had staged both attacks. Belgian media said police were hunting one attacker who had survived.

Additional reporting by Reuters.