Following are excerpts from a show featuring Egyptian Salafi Sheikh Murgan Salem, which aired on Dream 2 TV, on November 10 and 13, 2012.
Murgan Salem: They must pay the jizya poll tax. They cannot be exempted.
TV host Wael Al-Abrashi: You mean the Christians...?
Murgan Salem: I'll tell you, just bear with me. Yes, this should be one of the sources of income of the state. The Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians are welcome to live in the Abode of Islam, as long as they pay the jizya poll tax, and abide by the terms set by the Emir of the Believers, who rules the country.
Wael Al-Abrashi: What if they serve in the military?
Murgan Salem: They don’t need to. We will defend them. We will defend them.
Wael Al-Abrashi: When you say that you will destroy the statues, the Sphinx, and the pyramids, just like you destroyed the Buddha statues in Afghanistan – isn't this a cause for fear?
Murgan Salem: What is there to be afraid of?
Journalist Nabil Sharaf al-Din: This is a universal heritage. It doesn't belong only to you.
Murgan Salem: Let me ask you a question: Why are you afraid of shattering these idols? Do you worship these idols?
Nabil Sharaf al-Din: No sir, but this is a universal heritage that must be respected.
Wael Al-Abrashi: If you were in power, you would destroy the Sphinx, the pyramids, and all the Pharonic statues and antiquities?
Murgan Salem: All pagan statues and monuments – whether they are worshipped now or there is fear that they will be worshipped again, even if by a single person in the world – must be destroyed by us or others.
Wael Al-Abrashi: You met Osama Bin Laden in [Afghanistan]. You worked with him and fought with him.
Murgan Salem: First of all, I won't allow anyone to say "Osama Bin Laden" without the title "Sheikh".
Wael Al-Abrashi: Fine, Sheikh Osama Bin Laden. That's your call.
Murgan Salem: Sheikh Bin Laden is one of the greatest leaders of the Muslims to this day. I consider Sheikh Osama Bin Laden to be greater than Saladin. Saladin had supporters in his day...
Wael Al-Abrashi: Sheikh Murgan, don't get me worked up...
Murgan Salem: Okay, I won't. Let me explain. When Saladin wanted to liberate the Islamic world and expel the Tatars, there were emirates and armies that, although they were weak, supported him. Bin Laden had no supporters. Everybody was against him.
Wael Al-Abrashi: And you consider the killing of innocent women and children to be a glorious deed?
Murgan Salem: Sheikh Osama Bin Laden did not kill a single innocent woman or child who was a Muslim. Who says Sheik Osama killed innocent people? Where exactly?
This [Buddha] statue was worshipped by over 800 million people in the world – in the Koreas, Japan, Burma, Thailand, part of the Philippines, much of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. They are all Buddhists, who worship Buddha, a god other than Allah. This statue was worshipped rather than Allah. Its destruction was not an act of destroying a universal heritage. We have no respect for idols that are worshipped instead of Allah.
If I were president of Egypt, I would have destroyed those idols, whether worshipped or not. This is the law of the Prophet Muhammad.
Three ministries must be abolished. The Ministry of Tourism is the first one. This ministry is based on prostitution and depravity...
Wael Al-Abrashi: Sheikh Murgan, it seems that you want to close the country, and turn it into darkness. No tourist would come here. Do you want to destroy this country's economy?
Murgan Salem: I want to purify the economy.
Anyone who thinks what I am saying is an exaggeration...
Wael Al-Abrashi: You want to destroy the pyramids and the Sphinx. Can there be anything more exaggerated than that?
Murgan Salem: This exaggeration is in keeping with the shari'a...
Wael Al-Abrashi: What more would you like to destroy? Would you fill up the Nile with earth? Are we to wake up tomorrow morning and hear a fatwa about filling up the Nile?
Murgan Salem: We will dig another river for you, Allah willing.