A file photo of Al-Azhar headquarters in Cairo (Photo: Al-Ahram)
The Islamic Research Academy at Al-Azhar, Egypt’s top religious authority, has condemned French President Emmanuel Macron’s announced plan for fighting “Islamic separatism,” which Al-Azhar described as an “explicit call for racism and hate.”
In a speech in Les Mureaux, near Paris, Macron announced intentions to propose a bill to France’s parliament next year to address what he called Islamist isolationism and separatism.
The bill would impose tighter controls on funding for mosques and severely restrict home-schooling to prevent children from being “indoctrinated” by unregistered schools that deviate from the national curriculum, Macron said.
“There is a crisis of Islam everywhere, which is being corrupted by radical forms,” Macron said.
In a statement on Saturday, Al-Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy, which works to reform Islamic culture and safeguard it from political and ideological intolerance, said that President Macron has directed “false accusations that have nothing to do with the true context of religion.”
It said that Islam calls for “tolerance and peace” among people, including those who do not believe in it.
The academy said it completely rejects Macron’s remarks, which it said “destroy all joint efforts by religious figures to eliminate racism and bullying against religions.”
The academy also said that some people insist on making false accusations against Islam, including those of separatism and isolationism, and are confused by the fact that some people exploit some religious texts to fulfil malicious goals.
The religious body called for abandoning attacks against religions, as this obstructs constructive dialogue and backs hate speech. It also said that such “attacks” can hinder attempts to establish co-existence among people in a society.