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Reforming Islam in Egypt

Reforming Islam in Egypt

Country: 
Egypt
News Date: 
18/02/2017
Sharia Watch
Summary: 

It has been over two years since Mr Sisi, an observant Muslim, lamented that some of his co-religionists were becoming “a source of worry, fear, danger, murder and destruction to all the world”. He urged Egyptian clerics to push back against the jihadists of Islamic State (IS). Egypt itself was a victim, he said: angry Islamists have attacked the government and an affiliate of IS battles the army in Sinai. To combat such extremism, “a religious revolution” was needed, said Mr Sisi—and al-Azhar, the Sunni world’s oldest seat of learning, should take the lead.

But the clerics, led by Mr Tayeb, have largely resisted Mr Sisi’s appeal. Though al-Azhar bills itself as moderate, critics say that it has allowed hardliners to remain in senior positions and failed to reform its curriculums, which include centuries-old texts often cited by extremists. It has blocked efforts at social reform and tried to censor its critics. “Nothing has been done since the president called for renewing religious discourse,” said Helmi al-Namnam, the culture minister, last August.