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Egypt: Muslim scholars reject allegations of extremism in their courses

An entrance to Al Ashar Mosque and University

An entrance to Al Ashar Mosque and University

Source: Fides

Al Azhar University, the most prestigious theological and academic center of Sunni Islam, has strongly rejected criticisms of their teaching courses, accusing them of supporting ideologies adopted by Jihadist terrorism. In an official statement issued on Tuesday, April 18, the Supreme Council of al Azhar scholars reiterate that: "Sharia prohibits every kind of assault against human beings, regardless of their religion and belief" and "Islam also binds Muslims to protect all places of worship and to treat non-Muslims with kindness."

With regard to the more detailed allegations concerning the Sunni University teaching programs, the statement points out that: "Azhar programs are the only ones which teach Islam in the right manner and favors peace and coexistence among Muslims and non-Muslims, as witnessed by millions of diplomats who have been and are advocates of peace and brotherhood."

To suggest that the teachings are an incentive to terrorism is "a distortion in Egypt's history and a betrayal of Egyptian consciences," the statement says.

The statement by al Azhar scholars has led to further criticism by intellectuals such as writer Khaled Montasser, who defined the pronouncement as "the last nail of the coffin of the rule of law in Egypt."

While Coptic intellectual Naguib Gabriel, leader of the Egyptian Human Rights Union, noted that the problem of teaching programs not only affects courses taught at al Azhar, but also books and Arab language study courses, which also force non-Muslim students to memorize the verses of the Koran and the Hadiths of Prophet Mohammad.

Perhaps in response to the series of criticisms received, the University of al Azhar in the last few days has intensified its condemnation of the violence suffered by Christians in Egypt.

The International Peace Conference convened in Cairo is approaching. This will be attended by Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.