Top Muslim university condemns suicide after self-immolation death

Cairo, Egypt - Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's most prestigious learning institution, reiterated that suicide is forbidden in Islam after the death of a young man who set himself ablaze, media reported on Wednesday.

Sharia law states that suicide is forbidden for any reason including as an expression of anger or protest, the university said in a statement, al-Masry al-Youm reported on its website.

The comments came after a 25-year-old man died after dousing himself in petrol and setting himself on fire in the coastal city of Alexandria. The motivation for his act remains unclear.

The self-immolation was the third of its kind in the country this week, but the first to result in death.

Two men set themselves on fire in front of parliament in Cairo on Monday and Tuesday. One man chanted anti-security-force slogans and the other shouted that police had been unable to locate his missing daughter.

The incidents come about a month after Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze, protesting high unemployment. That incident triggered widespread unrest in Tunisia, leading to the overthrow of president Zine el-Abidine ben Ali last week.

Al-Azhar condemned suicide bombings against Israelis in 2001. Mohammed al-Tantawi, the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar at the time, said Islam forbade all forms of terrorism.