Influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi has issued a fatwa that any Libyan soldier who can shoot dead embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi should do so 'to rid Libya of him.'
'Whoever in the Libyan army is able to shoot a bullet at Mr Gaddafi should do so,' Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born cleric who is usually based in Qatar, told Al-Jazeera television.
He also told Libyan soldiers 'not to obey orders to strike at your own people,' and urged Libyan ambassadors around the world to dissociate themselves from Gaddafi's regime.
Famous in the Middle East for his at times controversial fatwas, or religious edicts, the octogenarian Qaradawi has celebrity status in the Arab world thanks to his religious broadcasts on Al-Jazeera.
He has in the past defended 'violence carried out by certain Muslims.'
The West accuses the cleric of supporting 'terrorism' because he sanctioned Palestinian suicide attacks in Israel. Britain and the United States have refused to grant him entry visas.
The cleric, spiritual leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and longtime resident of Qatar, heads the International Union for Muslim Scholars.