Outrage in Mideast over IS killing of Jordan pilot

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Outrage in Mideast over IS killing of Jordan pilot
ISIS says American hostage Kayla Mueller died when Jordanian fighter jets bombed the militants' stronghold in Raqqa. The group hasn't given proof.
American aid worker and ISIS hostage Kayla Jean Mueller reportedly killed in coalition air strike. http://t.co/RO5B4YXa2M
This is Kayla Jean Mueller, the American female being held hostage by ISIS http://t.co/MOXLjNx8aa
Jordanian students shout slogans on February 5, 2015 in the capital Amman during a rally against the Islamic state (IS) group and in reaction to the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh by the group's militants. Jordan said its warplanes had launched new strikes against the IS group, after vowing a harsh response to the fighter pilot murder. The placards show Jordan's King Abdullah II and Maaz al-Kassasbeh. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
(al-Furqan Media)
Jawdat al-Kassasbeh, the brother of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who was burned alive by Islamic state (IS) group's militants, flashes the sign of victory during a rally against IS group and in reaction to the pilot's murder on February 5, 2015 in the capital Amman. Jordan said its warplanes had launched new strikes against the IS group, after vowing a harsh response to the fighter pilot murder. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
Jordanian students shout slogans waving national flags on February 5, 2015 in the capital Amman during a rally against the Islamic state (IS) group and in reaction to the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh (on the placards) by the group's militants. Jordan said its warplanes had launched new strikes against the IS group, after vowing a harsh response to the fighter pilot murder. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 4: Jordanians welcome King Abdullah as he arrives at Aliya Airport 30 kilometers from the capital Amman, Jordan on February 4, 2015. He has cut his visit to America short following the burning to death of Jordanian pilot Muaz el-Kesasibe by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Jordanians met King Abdullah with posters of the King and Jordanian flags on his arrival at Aliya Airport 30 kilometers from the capital Amman. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Jordanian shouts slogans on February 5, 2015 in the capital Amman during a rally against the Islamic state (IS) group and in reaction to the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh by the group's militants. Jordan said its warplanes had launched new strikes against the IS group, after vowing a harsh response to the fighter pilot murder. The placards show Jordan's King Abdullah II and Maaz al-Kassasbeh. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
A Jordanian student sits in front of a giant poster showing Jordan's King Abdullah II as he holds a placard bearing a portrait of late Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh on February 5, 2015 during a rally in the capital Amman against the Islamic state (IS) group after its militants burned alive the pilot. Jordan said its warplanes had launched new strikes against the IS group, after vowing a harsh response to the fighter pilot murder. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
Jordanian Muslim worshippers perform a prayer on February 4, 2015 in the capital Amman, for Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who was burnt alive by Islamic State (IS) group militants after they captured him when his jet crashed in northern Syria in December. The burning alive of the Jordanian pilot by the IS group has shocked the kingdom, where people are expected to rally behind a military campaign against the jihadists, experts say. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends the Lower House's budget committee session at the National Diet in Tokyo on February 4, 2015. Abe condemned the apparent execution by the Islamic State group of a Jordanian pilot as 'unforgivable', days after the murders of two Japanese hostages. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
(al-Furqan Media)
AMMAN, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 03: A group of people stage protest after a release of a video, allegedly shows execution of the Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh who has been held captive by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces, in Amman, Jordan on February 03, 2015. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 03: A group of people stage protest after a release of a video, allegedly shows execution of the Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh who has been held captive by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces, in Amman, Jordan on February 03, 2015. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 03:Angry Jordanians gather after after hearing the news of the execution of Jordanian pilot Muath Al Kasasbeh, at the Kasasbeh tribe society on February 3, 2015 in Amman, Jordan. Today a video was released depicting captured Jordanian pilot First Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasabeh being burned alive in a cage by the Islamic State (ISIS) group. (Photo by Jordan Pix/Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 03: A group of people stage protest after a release of a video, allegedly shows execution of the Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh who has been held captive by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces, in Amman, Jordan on February 03, 2015. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Anwar Tarawneh (C), the wife of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who was captured by Islamic State (IS) group militants on December 24 after his F-16 jet crashed while on a mission against the jihadists over northern Syria, sheds a tear during a rally calling for the release of her captive husband in the Jordanian capital Amman on February 3, 2015. Jordan vowed to do all it could to save the pilot held by IS after the jihadists killed a Japanese journalist they had been holding. IS has been demanding the release of an Iraqi jihadist on death row in Jordan in exchange for Kassasbeh's life, and Amman said it would hand her over if given proof that he is still alive. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
A screen grab from a video posted to YouTube by ISIS that claims to show journalist James Foley, who was abducted in 2012 while covering the Syria civil war, being beheaded.
Screen shot from an Internet video released Friday that purports to show an ISIS militant beheading British aid worker Alan Henning, who had been taken hostage by the extremist group.
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CAIRO (AP) -- A video showing Islamic State militants burning a captive Jordanian pilot to death brought an outpouring of grief and rage across the Middle East on Wednesday, its brutality horrifying a region long accustomed to violence.

Political and religious leaders offered angry denunciations and called for blood, while at least one wept on air while talking about the killing of 26-year-old Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, whose F-16 crashed in Syria in December during a U.S.-led coalition raid on the extremist group.

The head of Sunni Islam's most respected seat of learning, Egypt's Al-Azhar, said the militants deserve the Quranic punishment of death, crucifixion or the chopping off of their arms for being enemies of God and the Prophet Muhammad.

"Islam prohibits the taking of an innocent life," Ahmed al-Tayeb, Al-Azhar's grand sheik, said in a statement, adding that by burning the pilot to death, the militants violated Islam's prohibition on the mutilation of bodies, even during wartime.

Capital punishment is used across much of the mostly Muslim Middle East for crimes like murder and drug smuggling. Death by hanging is the preferred method, but beheadings are routinely carried out in Saudi Arabia. In Iran and Pakistan, stoning to death as punishment for adultery exists in the penal code but is rarely used.

Burning to death as legal punishment, however, is unheard of in the contemporary Middle East, and a prominent Saudi cleric, Sheik Salman al-Oudah, wrote Wednesday that it is prohibited by Islam, citing what he said was a saying by the Prophet Muhammad that reserves for God alone the right to punish by fire in the after-life.

However, Hussein Bin Mahmoud, an Islamic State-linked theologian, claimed on one of the group's social media forums that two of the Prophet Muhammad's revered successors ordered similar punishment for Arab renegades in the seventh century. Al-Azhar says the claim is unsubstantiated.

While acknowledging the prophet's saying that God alone punishes by fire, Bin Mahmoud cited a Quranic verse that requires Muslims to punish their enemies in kind. Since U.S.-led airstrikes "burn" Muslims, he argued, the IS group must burn those behind the raids.

Iyad Madani, the leader of the 57-nation, Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world's largest bloc of Muslim countries, condemned the killing.

It "utterly disregards the rights of prisoners Islam has decreed, as well as the human moral standards for war and treatment of prisoners," a statement from Madani said. It is sad to see "the depth of malaise" in parts of the Middle East, along with the "intellectual decay, the political fragmentation and the abuse of Islam, the great religion of mercy."

Condemnations quickly came from Gulf Arab nations, all of which are close U.S. allies.

The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, condemned the killing and reaffirmed his nation's commitment to fighting terrorism and extremism. "This heinous and obscene act represents a brutal escalation by the terrorist group, whose evil objectives have become apparent," he said.

The UAE is one of the most visible Arab members in the U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State group, which also includes Jordan. Bahrain, a Gulf state that is home to the U.S. 5th Fleet, denounced the killing as "despicable," and Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, blasted the killing as "criminal" and "vicious."

Qatar's Foreign Ministry also condemned the "criminal act contravening the tolerant principles of the Islamic faith, human values and international laws and norms." The tiny but very rich Gulf nation hosts the regional command center coordinating coalition airstrikes.

In predominantly Muslim Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the killing an act of "savagery" that had no place in Islam.

"There is no such thing in our religion ... and they have nothing to do with Islam," he said.

Iran, which has aided both Iraq and Syria against the IS group, said the killing of the pilot was an "inhuman" act that violated the codes of Islam, according to a statement by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose government had tried to free two Japanese nationals before they were beheaded by the Islamic State group last month, also condemned the pilot's killing.

"Such an act of terrorism is outrageous and impermissible and causes me nothing but strong indignation. Thus I express resolute condemnation," he said in a statement. "We must never give in to terrorism."

Religious and political leaders have condemned past atrocities committed by the Islamic State group, including the beheading of foreign journalists and aid workers, and the mass killing of captured Iraqi and Syrian soldiers.

But the killing of al-Kaseasbeh, who had been the subject of intense negotiations over a possible swap with an al-Qaida prisoner on death row in Jordan, seems to have hit much closer to home. The prisoner, an Iraqi woman convicted of involvement in a triple hotel bombing in Amman in 2005, was executed along with another al-Qaida prisoner at dawn on Wednesday.

The pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper led its coverage of the pilot's killing with a one-word front-page banner: "Barbarity."

"How many Syrian al-Kaseasbehs are there?" asked an article in the left-leaning Lebanese daily Assafir. "How many ... are there, whose names we are ignorant of, slaughtered by the Islamic State and their brothers? How many Syrian al-Kaseasbehs have fallen in the past four years ... without news headlines on the television channels?"

Jordanian politician Mohammed al-Rousan wept on television as he described watching al-Kaseasbeh's death, saying even people attuned to violence could not bear to see a man burned alive.

But in an instant his grief turned to rage.

"Let's use the same methods as them!" he shouted during the interview with Lebanon's al-Mayadeen TV. "Let's kill their children! Let's kill their women!"

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