Last Update 17:26
Saturday, 21 September 2019

Azhar rallies Islamists and liberals behind 'democratic' vision for Egypt

Major religious and political leaders sign on to Al-Azhar statement that calls for upholding spirit of January 25 revolution through a civilian government based on equal rights for all citizens

Ahram Online, Thursday 12 Jan 2012
Azhar
Ahmed El-Tayeb (Photo: Reuters)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 2899
Share/Bookmark
Views: 2899

The Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayeb hosted a meeting devoted to “regaining the spirit of the revolution and completing its goals” on Wednesday, attended by sixty major political and religious figures.

Conference attendees included Coptic Christian Pope Shenouda III; Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie; Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri; potential presidential nominees Amr Moussa and Mohamed Selim El-Awa; leaders of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the liberal  Wafd Partythe Adl Party, and  the Free Egyptians party; Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassan; the Islamist Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya’s Essam Derbala; and a Sufi representative.

Following the meeting, El-Tayeb released a statement – endorsed by all attendees – confirming the institution’s commitment to a democratic society with equal social, religious and political rights for all citizens. The statement included 12 main points intended to guide Egypt’s political trajectory on the eve of the revolution’s first anniversary.

Among other things, the statement called for:

-        All parties to respect the parliamentary election results;

-        A swift handover of power from the military to an elected civilian authority, and for the military to return to its natural role of defending the country’s borders;

-        A halt to the practice of trying civilians in military courts;

-        An end to all repressive measures by the government against citizens;

-        The speedy prosecution of former regime figures;

-        Full compensation for the families of slain protesters;

-        An independent Egyptian foreign policy and an end to dependency on foreign powers.

Following the meeting, various political figures commented on the event.

Former Arab League chief Amr Moussa said the declaration showed that Al-Azhar was on its way to regaining its leading role among Muslims on an international level.

Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said personal freedoms must be respected under any new constitution.

El-Sayed El-Badawi, head of the liberal Wafd Party, said liberal parties and movements were not worried by the Islamist majority in Egypt’s incoming parliament “because this is the democratic will of the people.” He went on to assert that Islam guaranteed freedoms of both expression and belief.

Furthermore, Mohamed Abul-Ghar, head of the Social Democratic Party, called for a democratic society based on respect for personal freedoms. He also urged political forces to find common ground to build the nation.

Al-Azhar had previously issued a document in July 2011 outlining its support for the establishment of a civil – non-religious – state. While on Tuesday, the grand sheikh issued a statement reiterating Al-Azhar’s stand on freedom of expression in both the political and cultural arenas.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.