A professor of Islamic Shariah at al-Azhar University warned on Sunday that Salafi Islamists were seeking to undermine the role of the acclaimed institution and accused them of seeking to spread their “radical and extremist ideas.”
Ahmed Karima’s statement came after Salafi Leader Yassir al-Burhami said his group succeeded in including in the constitution that will pave the way for removing Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb.
“I told you that Salafis are seeking to erase the role of Azhar not in Egypt only but in the Islamic world as an introduction to spreading their ideas which carry radicalism, extremism, intellectual and armed violence.,” Azhar professor Ahmed Karima told Al Arabiya.
In the fourth article of the draft constitution, he said, Azhar's role was reduced in favor of the Salafis. “And of course, unfortunately, this was done to appease the civilian powers which thought that Azhar would be like priesthood above the authority,” he added.
“They did not know that Azhar is the guarantee of coexistence, acceptance and the spread of Values of tolerance.”
Salafi leader Burhami had said his group was able to put an age limit for the position of Azhar grand imam and that is 65 years. This, he said, provides legal group for deposing of the current Grand Imam Tayyeb.
Tayyeb was appointed by ousted president Hosni Mubarak in 2010. He was a member of the Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP)’s political committee and he was known for his firm stances against the Muslim Brotherhood.