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Qatar-based TV cleric urges boycott of Egypt's referendum, issues fatwa against voting

A famous pro-Muslim Brotherhood TV cleric based in Qatar has issued a fatwa saying it is forbidden to vote in Egypt's constitutional referendum.

Egyptian cleric Youssef el-Qaradawi issued the opinion Tuesday, a day before Egyptians abroad are set to vote on the draft charter. Voting in Egypt is scheduled to start Jan. 14.

A prior constitution approved under former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was suspended after the military removed him from power following mass protests.

El-Qaradawi says Morsi's ouster was a military coup and that any act that gives the new government legitimacy, including voting in the referendum, is forbidden by religion.

Over the weekend, Egyptian officials summoned Qatar's ambassador to Cairo to express concerns about the Gulf state's criticism of Egypt's decision to designate the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.