Al-Azhar, an institution widely regarded as a source of Islamic jurisprudence, law, and customs, is set to open its first university branch outside its home country of Egypt, the official Emirati news agency WAM reported.
The institution’s Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmad Al Tayeb, also the grand mufti of Egypt, signed an agreement with the UAE’s General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE).
“Co-operation and co-ordination between Al Azhar and GAIAE is continuous in a number of activities, and conferences,” Al-Tayeb said, adding that these efforts would be “culminated with the opening of the first branch of Al Azhar University outside the Arab Republic of Egypt.”
“Based on this fact, co-ordination among all these reference institutions is a must, and Al Azhar University will have a prestigious position among other educational and research institutions in the country,” Chairman of the GAIAE Mohammed Mattar Salem Al Kaabi was quoted as saying.
Cairo’s Al Azhar mosque is often described as a “beacon of moderate Islam” and the Azhar University is sometimes referred to as the center of Islamic teaching and one of the oldest higher-education institutions in the world.
For decades, students from Africa to South East Asia have flocked to Al-Azhar University to learn Arabic and attend the other non-religious programs offered by the institution.
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