Egypt’s top Islamic body, Al-Azhar, urges Mursi to suspend new powers


Egypt’s top Islamic body on Thursday called on President Mohammed Mursi to suspend a decree in which he claimed sweeping powers and demanded an unconditional dialogue between the president and his opponents.

The Al-Azhar institution said Mursi should “suspend the latest decree and stop using it,” in a statement a day after deadly protests between Mursi supporters and opponents, AFP reported.

Opponents of President Mohamed Mursi and his Islamist supporters clashed on Wednesday night and Thursday morning during rival demonstrations that were sparked by Mursi’s decision last month to expand his powers.

To protest against Mursi expanding his powers, three members of his advisory team said on Wednesday they had resigned over the crisis ignited by a decree that expanded his powers, according to Reuters.

Seif Abdel Fattah, Ayman al-Sayyad and Amr al-Leithy all tendered their resignations, bringing to six the number of presidential staff who have quit in the wake of a decree that has triggered countrywide violence.

The previously announced resignations included a Christian and a woman. They were part of a presidential staff assembled by Mursi, an Islamist, in an effort to build an inclusive administration.

Five demonstrators died overnight Thursday in the worst violence since Mursi became Egypt’s first Islamist president in June.