There is an ongoing campaign to smear Al-Azhar by quoting selectively from books published by the university that purport to show links with terrorist ideas, Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb told state TV on Friday.
"They want to show that Al-Azhar's curriculums spread terrorist ides and views although our heritage books have been in place since long ago…so why they are doing this now? For sure, to demolish Al Azahr," El-Tayyeb added without pointing his finger at any particular groups or persons.
Al-Azhar, the highest seat of Sunni Islam, has been criticised by some for failing to combat extremist ideas.
In December controversial TV presenter Islam El-Beheiry was sentenced to five-year in prison on charges of “contempt of religion.”
El-Beheiry was a harsh critic of Al-Azhar, and the institution requested the Egyptian authorities stop airing his show, describing him as "leading a fierce campaign against the foundations of Islam and Islamic heritage."