Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawky Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam has warned that any attack on al-Azhar Institution or its head Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb would “undermine Egypt’s security,” Ahram Online reported Thursday.
Allam said Azhar will remain independent of political divisions and that it will not be drawn in to a “political game.”
He said the institution “will always remain an institution dedicated to the nation at whole,” in addition to standing “at equal footing from all political factions.”
We call on all Egyptians to refrain from dragging al-Azhar into political matters and grievances because this is the only way in which the moderate version of Islam and our institution's independence will persist,” Allam said.
His statements came amid calls to overthrow Grand Imam el-Tayeb following a food poisoning of more than 500 Azhar students.
Some opposition forces accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of having concocted the mass poisoning scandal in an attempt to control the famed institution.
“The Muslim Brotherhood’s attempts have been exposed; the ferocious attacks on Azhar by Islamists and by the Brotherhood in particular are meant to control the institution,” Alaa Thabit, an Egyptian journalist and political analyst said.
“Azhar is a moderate Islamic institution and is well-respected throughout the world and the Brotherhood want the institution to be under their control,’ Thabit said.
Thousands of Egyptians are expected to protest in defense of Azhar on Friday.