BEIRUT - A prominent Jordanian Islamist who inspired al Qaida in Iraq has endorsed protests in Syria, saying the overthrow of President Bashar Assad would be a step towards implementing Sharia law.
Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, spiritual mentor of the late Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who led al Qaida fighters in Iraq, said all Muslims had a duty to join protests against Assad's 11-year authoritarian rule.
"Just as the fall of the regime is necessary for someone calling for democracy, it is also necessary for someone calling for application of Sharia," Maqdisi said in a statement on the website Pulpit of Tawhid and Jihad.
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