Egyptian media is reporting that a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau is one of the candidates nominated by Al-Azhar’s Senior Scholars Authority to replace Egypt’s Grand Mufti. According to an Egypt Independent report:
Mohamed Abdel Ghany Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau member Abdel Rahman al-Bar is one of the candidates nominated by Al-Azhar’s Senior Scholars Authority to replace Ali Gomaa, Egypt’s grand mufti who has turned sixty-one, London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported. The newspaper quoted sources as saying that Bar, a professor at Azhar University who is also nicknamed ‘the Muslim Brotherhood Mufti,’ is among the three top names that will be suggested by the authority for President Mohamed Morsy to choose from. Other candidates being considered for the same post are Saad Eddin al-Helaly and Mohamed al-Gebali, both professors at Al-Azhar University. The paper claimed that their chances of being selected were not strong. Gomaa’s term as grand mufti ends in March. His term was renewed for one year after he turned 60 by the then-ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in February 2012. Sources told the paper that the condition stating that the Mufti cannot belong to ‘any political movement, faction or group’ may weaken Bar’s chances of getting the job. The grand mufti in Egypt was created as a position in 1895, and since then Egypt has had 18. The grand mufti is one of the main sources of religious edicts and decisions for Sunni Muslims in Egypt and throughout the world.
Al-Azhar is both an important mosque and one of the oldest educational institutions in the Islamic world. Numerous earlier posts have covered the changing nature of Al-Azhar:
- A post from last November reported on a speech given by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi before Friday prayers at the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, his first speech ever at Al-Azhar and where he called for Arabs and Muslims to unite In confrontation With Israel.
- A post from October reported that Salah Soltan, a notorious anti-Semite and formerly part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood,, had been appointed as Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIF) attached to the Egyptian Ministry of Waqf. The appointment was made by the Minister Dr. Talaat Mohamed Afify Salem who has been described as a member of the Salafist movement in Egypt and as an “ally” of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Ministry of Waqf (Islamic Endowment) is reported to have influence over Al-Azhar.
- A post from May reported on what was describef as a “first-of-its-kind” meeting between Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Azhar leaders.
- A post from November 2011reported that a Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo held at the Al Azhar Mosque was a “venomous anti-Israel protest” that featured calls to “kill all the Jews.
- In March 2010, a post reported on the appointment of Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed al-Tayeb as head of Al-Azhar, replacing Mohammed Sayed Tantawi who had died recently on a trip to Saudi Arabia.
- In October 2008, posts reported on the election of Qaradawi to the Islamic Research Council of Al-Azhar.
Other posts have reported on the numerous articles examining both the struggle for control of Al-Azhar as well as its role of in the Islamization of Egypt.
A post from yesterday reported that a delegation from Al-Azhar met last Wednesday with a delegation from a part of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), representing the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.