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Al-Azhar Imam tells Ahmadinejad not to interfere in Gulf
Al-Azhar leader warns Iranian president against 'interference' in the Gulf's internal affairs; denounces 'spread of Shiism' in Sunni countries
AFP , Tuesday 5 Feb 2013
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Al-Azhar
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, shakes hands with Grand Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's premier Islamic institution during their meeting at Al Azhar headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Egypt's top cleric told visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday not to interfere in the affairs of Bahrain or other Gulf states, and to uphold the rights of his country's Sunni minority.

Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, also denounced what he described as the "spread of Shiism in Sunni lands".

Tayyeb, who made the remarks in a statement after meeting Ahmadinejad, demanded "the Iranian president respect Bahrain as a brotherly Arab nation, and not interfere in the affairs of Gulf states".

In October, Bahrain summoned an Iranian envoy to protest at Tehran's "interference" in the Gulf state's internal affairs. Shiite-ruled Iran has supported protests by Bahrain's Shiite majority against the Sunni monarchy.

Following Tuesday's meeting, Ahmadinejad gave a news conference at Al-Azhar in which he said he "came from Iran to say that Egypt and the Egyptian people have their place in the heart of the Iranian people".

But senior Al-Azhar cleric Hassan al-Shafie, who spoke after Ahmadinejad, launched into a tirade against "some Shiites" for insulting some of the Prophet Mohammed's companions as the Iranian president listened with noticeable unease.

"The discussions were frank," Shafie said of Ahaminejad's meeting with Tayyeb.

Shiites revile some of the Prophet Mohammed's companions they accuse of usurping power from his nephew Ali, whom they believe was designated as his rightful heir.

Sunnis view this position as heresy, but Al-Azhar had traditionally taken an ecumenical stance on Shiites.

But the Sunni institute has adopted a much harsher tone in the past year, accusing Shiites of trying to spread their doctrine in Egypt and even issuing a statement that used a pejorative term for Shiites -- rafidah, or rejectionists.

Al-Azhar's hardened stance is thought in part to stem from the increased pressure of more conservative Salafi clerics, who share doctrines of Saudi Arabia's interpretation of Sunni Islam. 



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Mohamed
07-02-2013 09:31am
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Al-Azhar and the Shia
Sunni and Shia are matters of conscience. It has nothing to do with the affairs of state. Citizens, be they Sunni or Shia, believer or not, gay or straight have rights which are inalienable. The church, mosque, temple or pyramid should have no influence on matters of state.
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T.Atallah
06-02-2013 12:56pm
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Frankness
Honesty is the enemy of evil. The honesty of Sheikh Ahmed-Al-Tayeb regarding the injuries that are piercing among Muslims, even if it irritates, is a good step for a restoration of trust, love and unity among all the Muslim worshipers of Allah. Hand shaking and saying I love you only isn’t enough to heal a deep wound which is breaking the back of all Muslims. I hope that President Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah Khamene’i will reflect upon the honesty exhibited by Sheikh Ahmed and try to heal those ancient political struggles and sacrifices which happened soon after the death of the Prophet and which caused unnecessary rupture in the spine of the followers of the Divine revelation until today, and help remove that unnecessary wound. Also I hope to see Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah in their turn addressing honestly the problems that the Shias’ have in regard to the Sunni, so we can all meet somewhere. Shias’ hate contemporary Sunnis for something they haven’t done. Sunni’s hate their con
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T.Atallah
06-02-2013 12:46pm
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Frankness
Honesty is the enemy of evil. The honesty of Sheikh Ahmed-Al-Tayeb regarding the injuries that are piercing among Muslims, even if it irritates, is a good step for a restoration of trust, love and unity among all the Muslim worshipers of Allah. Hand shaking and saying I love you only isn’t enough to heal a deep wound which is breaking the back of all Muslims. I hope that President Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah Khamene’i will reflect upon the honesty exhibited by Sheikh Ahmed and try to heal those ancient political struggles and sacrifices which happened soon after the death of the Prophet and which caused unnecessary rupture in the spine of the followers of the Divine revelation until today, and help remove that unnecessary wound. Also I hope to see Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah in their turn addressing honestly the problems that the Shias’ have in regard to the Sunni, so we can all meet somewhere. Shias’ hate contemporary Sunnis for something they haven’t done. Sunni’s hate their con
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Ansari
07-02-2013 09:06am
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Al-Azhar Imam tells Ahmadinejad not to interfere in dictators of Gulf, Imam has no right to tell anyone what to do
Attallah, you should know Iran is not creating problems for Sunni Muslims, neither Sunnies. But the problem is in arrogant dictators like Saudi king, Bahrain king, Abu Dhabi kings who are whole heartedly supporting US, and Israel for their own protection of regimes at the expense of all Muslims and their interest. These dictators should be over thrown like Mubarak, qaddafi, and Ben Ali. These dictators are problems once they are gone Muslims will together. The West is trying hard for last 60 years to split the Muslim ummah, and they are very successful through these kings. Azhar institution has got corrupted during Mubarak era. Those sheikhs have no vision of Muslim unity. Azhar should stay out of dirty politics.
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Naim Naqvi
06-02-2013 05:07am
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No one insults a host.
Egypt was ruled by Fatimies for hundreds of years. Peto-dollars are pouring in from Saudi Arabia and Egypt's liberal society is being radicalized. Salafism is the product of the Saudi bounties. No one,even the worst host insults his guests. I wonder if they forgetting the teachings of Skeikh Abdu.
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Mohammed
06-02-2013 12:45am
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What's right what's wrong?
As an Egyptian and non-religious person I don't understand if a religious leader as they claim are seeking the truth why should be scared of spreading a view in the society. If they have something to say logically and they believe on what they are promoting why they don't announce their own view? what am I talking about is the time of that a religious leader decide on behalf of educated people is for past. No one has right to push his ridiculous beliefs as the truth to other people's life. If Sunni, Shiite or Christianity has something to say why should we put pressure on them and claim a conspiracy theory that they are trying to spread this or that beliefs.
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