President Morsi approves new Grand Mufti

Ahram Online, Monday 18 Feb 2013

For first time ever, Grand Mufti of Sunni Muslim world's religious authority Al-Azhar is elected, with President Mohamed Morsi giving his stamp of approval Monday

Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim
Egypt's new Grand Mufti, Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim (Photo: AO)

Egypt's new Grand Mufti, Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim has been officially approved by President Mohamed Morsi, the presidential office confirms in a press statement released on Monday.

The Senior Scholars Authority of Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's religious authority, met to choose the new Grand Mufti to succeed Ali Gomaa, who has recently retired.

This marks the first time a vote has been held to appoint the new Mufti, whereas in the past it was appointed by the president. 

Following the vote, Morsi was expected to officially approve the decision for Abdel-Karim to officially carry out his post starting from 4 March.

Abdel-Karim, 55, most recently served as the head of the Islamic Jurisprudence and Sharia Law at Al-Azhar University, Tanta branch.

The new Mufti was born in the Nile Delta governorate of Beheira and received his PhD in 1996 from the Al-Azhar University Faculty of Sharia and Law. Abdel-Karim's most famous book concerns the predetermination of the sex of a fetus and its legality according to Islamic law. He has also written a book on the political rights of Muslim women.

Al-Azhar is the main source of religious edicts for Sunni Muslims worldwide and the post of Grand Mufti was created in 1895. Abdel-Karim is the 19th to hold the post of Grand Mufti.

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