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Salafi leader reveals plot to oust Azhar’s grand imam

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A member of Egypt's constituent assembly has caused a storm with statements revealing that the Salafi Islamists had reached a deal with the institution of al-Azhar.

The deal would pave the way for a Shariah-based constitution while temporality holding the immunity of the institution’s grand imam.

Deputy leader of the Salafi Call Yasser Burhami appeared on a video apologizing to her party members for his “his inability to convince the assembly to remove the article making the Al-Azhar Grand Imam immune from removal.”

But he said the non-removal clause in the constitution will be circumvented with a law in a new parliament that sets a retirement age for the head of the prestigious Sunni institution

Burhami further explained that he would not have passed a clause about interpretation of sharia without allowing for the immunity of Azhar's grand imam.

“The article, which puts sharia above all in society, was accepted by the Christians in the assembly because they are unfamiliar with our religious terminology,” Burhami told an audience.

Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb is being accused by Islamists of loyalty to ousted President Hosni Mubarak. El-Tayeb 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.