Egyptian-born Youssef al-Qaradawi, one of the most prominent Sunni clerics in the Middle East, said in the fatwa posted on his website that the military’s intervention to depose Mursi on Wednesday was against democracy and the constitution.

“Doctor al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa on the necessity to support the elected Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi, and to retain the constitution… and calling on al-Sisi and those with him to withdraw to preserve legitimacy and democracy,” the posting said.

He said many scholars from Cairo’s al-Azhar Islamic university, Egypt’s pre-eminent Muslim institution, agreed with him.