Egypt's Al-Azhar University to partially close dorms

Ahram Online , Sunday 14 Sep 2014

Al-Azhar's student residences were a hotbed of unrest following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year

Al-Azhar University
Al-Azhar University, founded in the 10th century through the endowment of a charitable trust, or awqaf, in Cairo March 19, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Cairo's Al-Azhar University will close some of its dormitory buildings over concerns of a repeat of last year's violent confrontations between the university's students and police, which often kicked off from the campus dorms.

Ali Abdel-Wahed, Al-Azhar's general coordinator for dormitories, told Al-Ahram's Arabic website that five buildings – three for male students and two for female students – won't operate in the coming academic year starting on 11 October.

The capacity of the closed residences is 3,500, which brings down the campus dorm population to 15,000 this year.

Al-Azhar University was home to continuous clashes between students supporting ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and police forces last academic year.

At-least four students were killed in the clashes and dozens of others received court sentences, some exceeding 10 years in jail, on rioting charges.

Al-Azhar had earlier suggested closing its dorms completely as a temporary measure to pre-empt the violence.

The University is part of Egypt's Islamic institution of Al-Azhar, the world's oldest authority on Sunni Islam.

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