(Police officers stand guard at one of the doors to al-Fath mosque, where demonstrators in support of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi are waiting inside, at Ramses Square in Cairo August 17, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Ibrahim Negm is Senior Advisor to the Grand Mufti of Egypt.

By Ibrahim Negm

In the fog of conflict that has paralyzed Egypt over the past few days, contradictory narratives have emerged as to what precisely has transpired. Some have claimed that the sit-ins of the past six weeks were entirely peaceful demonstrations, while others argue that we are dealing with a terror organization. The events of July 3 are described in equally diametrically opposed terms: some deem it a military coup, while others consider it a popular revolt.

The array of arguments and evidences marshaled by each side are bewildering, but amidst it all, one principle remains inviolate: All violence must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. This is a basic, bedrock value on which there can be no compromise, and to which all parties must agree.

I call on all sides in this conflict to put the interests of the nation ahead of personal interests. This is the only viable way to restore safety and security to the people of Egypt. The situation is quickly spiraling out of control, and the death and destruction of the past few days is heartbreaking in its scope and magnitude.