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Al-Azhar calls for SCAF to handover power 'without delay'

Egypt’s official religious authority launches initiative to bring key political and religious figures together to discuss 'completing the revolution’s goals'

Ahram Online, Wednesday 11 Jan 2012
eltayeb
Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb (Photo:Reuters)
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The handover of power from the military must happen “on schedule and without delay” and the current trials of former regime officials must be accelerated, said Al-Azhar at a meeting hosted by the Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb on Wednesday.

The statement comes as a conclusion to a "national dialogue" conference run by Al-Azhar, the leading Sunni authority in the Muslim world, aimed at bringing key political and religious figures together to discuss “regaining the spirit of the revolution and completing its goals.”

The concluding statement emphasised the importance of the army "returning to its original role of protecting Egypt's borders and national security" and prioritising the state’s responsibility to tend to the needs and rights of the martyrs' families and the injured protesters.

The statement also called for national unity without "discrimination or bias" against any particular segments of society, such as Egypt's sizeable Coptic-Christian community.

The event reportedly included 40 key political and religious figures including Coptic Christian Patriarch Pope Shenouda III, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie as well as current Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri.

Also present were presidential contenders Amr Moussa and Mohamed Selim El-Awa; head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party Mohamed Abul-Ghar; head of the Wafd Party El-Sayed El-Badawy; as well as newly-elected parliamentarian and head of the Adl Party Mustafa El-Naggar; and head of the liberal Free Egyptians party Ahmed Said.

Despite a longstanding conflict between varying Islamist groups and Al-Azhar, Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassan, Jamaa Islamiya’s leading figure Essam Derbala and a Sufi representative also attended the meeting. This could be regarded as a gesture of willingness on the part of the different groups to engage in dialogue with the Islamic institution.

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