Morsi allies removed from Azhar council

The move aims purging the ministry and the influential Al-Azhar of Brotherhood-affiliated officials

Morsi allies removed from Azhar council

World Bulletin/News Desk

Egyptian Minister of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa has ordered the reformation of Al-Azhar's Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, removing members known to support ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

The move will see leading Islamic thinker Mohamed Emara and Kamilia Helmi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood group from which Morsi hails, both removed from the council.

The decision is the latest in a series of measures taken by Gomaa aimed at purging the ministry – and the influential Al-Azhar – of Brotherhood-affiliated officials appointed during Morsi's one year in office.

In August, Emara publicly condemned the bloody dispersal of two pro-Morsi sit-ins as a "transgression unprecedented since the end of the British occupation of Egypt."

Emara described the August 14 crackdown, which left hundreds of protesters dead and thousands injured, as "a bloody massacre in which the Egyptian army was complicit in murdering its own people – who were protesting peacefully – for the first time in Egypt's history."

In a Tuesday statement, Gomaa alleged that the Religious Endowments Ministry had "deviated from the moderate approach [to Islam] represented by Al-Azhar" following the appointment of several Brotherhood members to ministry posts during Morsi's tenure.

He added that his ministry had "managed over the past two months to bring Dawaa (preaching) work back to Al-Azhar."

Last month, Gomaa nullified the ministry's contracts with as many as 45,000 mosque preachers who were not graduates of Al-Azhar, considered the highest seat of religious learning in the Sunni-Muslim world.

Some Egyptian political and religious forces welcomed the move, while others saw it as an attempt by Egypt's new military-backed government to prevent political opponents – especially the embattled Muslim Brotherhood – from taking the pulpit.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Ekim 2013, 11:49

Muhammed Öylek