Egypt's Monday papers: A game of musical chairs for Al-Azhar

News article, posted 07.02.2012, from Egypt, in:
Sarah ElMeshad
Egypt's Monday papers: A game of musical chairs for Al-Azhar (Photo: Al-Masry Al-Youm)

The early departure of Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb and other members of the high council of Islamic scholars from Mohamed Morsy’s first official speech as president at Cairo University makes it to most of Monday’s papers.

Youssry Hany, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, told independent Al-Watan newspaper that their leaving early was “an unfortunate event and a mistake attributed to poor organization of the event itself.”

The opposition party paper Al-Wafd took the chance to depict what it describes as Al-Azhar’s lack of respect for the president. “Al-Azhar attacks presidency: The grand imam’s departure from Morsy’s inauguration preserves scholars’ dignity,” the front-page headline reads.

Al-Wafd says Tayyeb left because he was not given VIP status, unlike before, when he would be seated with the president and prime minister. This time, he was not allocated a place to sit, the paper writes.

Al-Azhar said in a statement that not only did Tayyeb and other members of the scholars council not have a place to sit, but they were asked to switch places because the place had been reserved for other guests.

Nasr Farid Wasel, a former grand mufti and a current member scholars council, told Al-Ahram state-run newspaper that whoever did this was either ignorant or meant to insult the scholars. He said the Al-Azhar grand sheikh is at the same level as the prime minister.

Ismail al-Diftar, another member of the council, said, “Al-Azhar sheikhs do not represent themselves — they represent all Muslims, with the history and culture as well.” He also told Al-Ahram that neither age nor scholarly status made a difference, which is against Islamic teachings.


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