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Azhar Imam condemns statements on tourism by 'religious extremists'

Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour condemns statements made by religious figures on future of Egypt's tourism industry as 'ignorant and lacking responsibility'

Ahram Online, Tuesday 13 Dec 2011
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Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour (Photo: Ahram)

The former deputy Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour responded to a recent wave of statements by various religious figures in Egypt regarding a wide range of issues, mainly to do with tourism and a ban on alcohol.  

Ashour’s statement comes days after Nader Bakar, spokesperson of the Salafist Nour Party stated his party would ban alcohol for Egyptian nationals and foreigners in all hotels, unless they purchase it themselves and drink it privately.

In an interview on Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel Monday evening, Ahsour stated that religious extremists lack true understanding of Islamic law and should in fact look to famous Islamic leaders as role models.

Ashour asserted that extremist rhetoric is "ignorant and lacking [in] responsibility."

“Amr Ibn Al-Ass [one of the prophet Mohammed's companions who conquered Egypt in the 7th century]... never spoke of the possibility of destroying ancient Pharaonic monuments [that some see as encouraging idolatry],” he stressed.  

On the topic of democracy, he pointed to a precedent for such a form of governance found in the Islamic principle of Shura, or consultation, which the Prophet Muhammad applied during his rule.

A religious Fatwa endorsing political pluralism was announced on Monday by Dar Al-Ifta - the Islamic authority responsible for issuing religious edicts - as it was practiced under the rule of the prophet Mohammed and his disciples.       

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ali baba
14-12-2011 12:08am
irresposible fanatic will bankrupt the countery and causes civil disobidents
Egypt is secular country .it has long history of tollerance ,but this is not the case right now,. they know that Egypt has econmic crisis and tourist revenue help the ease the pain for struggling familes where food shortage is critical. it is the fault of militry . it should produce guidline. At that guide line is seperation of religious from plotices. we are facing a nightmare when these fanatic seize the power. it is very sad
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13-12-2011 08:11pm
Problem with al-Azhar today
Al-Azhar needs to restore it's past greatness as it's lost credibility with many Egyptians due to it's close relationship with Mubarak regime. That's a major reason why Salafists have become stronger & have more support with Egyptians. Instead of pointing fingers at the 'extremism' of some Salafist' statements, al-Azhar needs to look at itself
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ali el nagar
14-12-2011 12:25pm
Al azhar should not blame for religious fanatic
religious fantic are getting money from Saudi Arabia and Iran to stir trouble. before .takfir and higra(blshamy and immigration0 they get their idealogy from their we have salfi. al azhar has not instructed them to for their ideology

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