web analytics
November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Al-Azhar’

Egypt’s Top Islamic Cleric Warns ‘Charlie Hebdo’

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

The office of one of the most influential Islamic clerics in the Middle East warned the remaining staff of the French satiric weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo to pull its intended cover cartoon for the January 14 edition.

The caricature, released earlier this week in previews to media, shows a depiction of the prophet Muhammed, founder of Islam, with a tear trickling down his face, holding a sign that reads, “Je Suis Charlie” (I Am Charlie) under the words, “Tout est pardonne” (All is forgiven.)

The work stands as a clear and obvious reference to last week’s murderous rampage by radical Islamist terrorists who targeted the magazine and its editorial staff, and the outcry by protesters that followed. The terrorists slaughtered only those on a list believed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to be responsible for past depictions of the prophet, ignoring ancillary staff at the site. A maintenance worker and another person who became caught in the crossfire also were killed, as were two police officers, one of whom was assigned to protect the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Stephan Charbonnier. He was the first of the staff to be murdered.

“Je Suis Charlie” was the rallying cry taken up by some four million demonstrators in Paris and even more in a show of solidarity around the world who stood in silence with candles, pens, pencils and protest signs to signal their determination that freedom of expression continue despite the threat of Islamic extremism.

During the three-day killing spree by two terror cells from Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that began with the Charlie Hebdo attack, 17 people lost their lives, including four Jews at a kosher grocery story on Friday just a few hours before the Sabbath. In addition, one of the magazine’s targeted top cartoonists was Jewish.

Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam warned in a statement that this week’s upcoming cover would be an “unwarranted provocation against the feelings of … Muslims around the world.”

The danger could in fact be magnified exponentially: the magazine’s usual run of 60,000 is allegedly to be expanded this week to as many as 3 million copies. Hoping to head off a worldwide radical Islamist wildfire, Allam called on the French government to reject the “racist act” by Charlie Hebdo, which he said was trying to provoke “religious strife” and “deepen hatred.”

Allam had previously called the attack on the magazine a “terrorist” act. Likewise, officials at the 1,000-year-old Egyptian Al Azhar Islamic Center, known to be the oldest center of Islamic studies in the world, referred to the attack as a criminal act.

Moreover, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called on Muslim clerics in an address at Al Azhar to “revolutionize” the Islamic faith and strive to combat extremist ideology – just two weeks before the radical Islamists carried out their reign of terror.

In Egypt, at least, moderate Muslims are beginning to step up and speak out, but that does not necessarily make them pro-Israel, as Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) pointed out. Jassser, a Syrian-American internist and nuclear cardiologist, has emerged as a major voice in countering Islamist extremism. He noted that in Egypt, there has been a change in attitude towards Islamist extremism — but not necessarily towards democracy or Israel.

One example, said Jasser, is that of Grand Sheikh Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed el-Tayeb, the leader of Al Azhar University and its mosque, appointed by former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. El-Tayeb supported el-Sisi’s ouster of former Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. He has also condemned Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the former Islamic cleric who now heads ISIS – but he has condemned Israel as a force for evil.

‘Honorable Imam, You Bear Responsibility Before Allah’

Friday, January 9th, 2015

A bare two weeks before radical Islamist terrorists calmly emptied the clips of their AK-47 assault rifles into the bodies of 12 journalists at the Paris-based Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly magazine, Egypt’s president warned clerics at the Al Azhar Islamic Center of the urgent need to combat extremist ideology.

In his speech delivered at the centuries-old worldwide center for Islamic studies, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called on the imams to “revolutionize” Islam.

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/DEhNarfrlec” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Excerpts of the president’s address were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in Washington, DC.

“I would like to reiterate that we are not doing enough with regard to true religious discourse,” the president stated. “The problem has never been with our faith. Perhaps the problem lies in ideology, and this ideology is sanctified among us. I am talking about religious discourse that is in keeping with its times.

“… I am addressing the religious scholars and clerics. We must take a long, hard look at the current situation. I have talked about this several times in the past. We must take a long, hard look at the situation we are in. It is inconceivable that the ideology we sanctify should make our entire nation a source of concern, danger, killing, and destruction all over the world. It is inconceivable that this ideology…

“I am referring not to “religion,” but to “ideology” – the body of ideas and texts that we have sanctified in the course of centuries, to the point that challenging them has become very difficult. “It has reached the point that [this ideology] is hostile to the entire world. Is it conceivable that 1.6 billion [Muslims] would kill the world’s population of seven billion, so that they could live [on their own]? This is inconceivable.

“I say these things here, at Al-Azhar, before religious clerics and scholars. May Allah bear witness on Judgment Day to the truth of your intentions, regarding what I say to you today.

“You cannot see things clearly when you are locked [in this ideology]. You must emerge from it and look from outside, in order to get closer to a truly enlightened ideology. You must oppose it with resolve. Let me say it again: We need to revolutionize our religion. “Honorable Imam [the Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar], you bear responsibility before Allah. The world in its entirety awaits your words, because the Islamic nation is being torn apart, destroyed, and is heading to perdition. We ourselves are bringing it to perdition.”

For the first time ever, Coptic Christians were honored with a visit from the nation’s leader at Christmas mass, as President el-Sisi visited Cairo’s Abbasiya Cathedral on the holy day. El-Sisi congratulated the small Coptic community on the occasion of the holiday earlier this week, and said in a brief address that all Egyptians are as “one hand.”


Egypt’s Pres. Sisi Urges Clerics, ‘Confront Misleading Islamic Ideology’

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

In a statement clearly intended to end terror recruitment at home and abroad, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi urged clerics Thursday to confront “misleading ideologies harming Islam and Muslims worldwide.”

Many terrorist groups broadcast radical Islamist sermons via the Internet and satellite television as well as social networking sites in order to recruit new members to their jihadist cause. At least one produces a full-fledged Internet magazine.

Egyptian military and police forces have been focusing their efforts on eliminating terror bases and training camps embedded in the Sinai Peninsula over the past several years.

The local Al Qaeda-linked Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis recently swore allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror organization. Also in Sinai are Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Army of Islam terror bases, among others.

Sisi also told the clerics at al-Azhar and the Awqaf Ministry it is important to renew “religious discourse” and spread moderate teachings of Islam, and urged Muslims to “follow the prophet.”

The Egyptian leader offered his greetings Muslims and Christians on the occasion of the birthday of the prophet Muhammed, founder of Islam, and on the New Year.

He praised efforts by the country’s armed forces and the police to provide security and defend the nation. Sisi underlined in particular the importance of fighting terrorism, which he pointed out “tarnishes the image” of the greater Islamic nation in the world.

The Egyptian leader made the statements during the Awqaf Ministry’s celebrations of the anniversary of the birthday of the prophet Muhammed, the founder of Islam. The Awqaf is the ministry of religious endowments; in Israel it is known as the “Waqf.” The Cairo-based Al-Azhar, founded in 970 CE, is known as the primary global center of Islamic and Arabic learning.

British Consul-General Helping to ‘Free Palestine’ ?

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

An international media outlet has caught Britain’s Consul-General to Jerusalem, Alastair McPhail in a photograph wearing a scarf heavily embroidered with the typical kefiyya symbols and festooned with the ‘Free Palestine’ logo during a receent visit to Gaza.

McPhail was accompanied by a Fatah official wearing a similar scarf, likewise decorated.

The photo, credited to ‘Islamic Relief Palestine,’ was brought to light by columnist Jack Moore, writing for the International Business Times (IBT), who said the pic appeared on the IRP website, “showing a Palestinian flag and the land of Palestine before the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan which created the State of Israel.” Moore added that the image was “particularly controversial today as it appears to advocate the removal of Israel from the region and the creation of a full Palestinian state in its place.”

The photo was snapped during an official visit earlier this year by British diplomats to Gaza when Al Azhar University opened a new laboratory funded in part by the UK government, as seen on the Islamic Relief website.

“Dr Alastair McPhail, British Consul General to Jerusalem has visited Islamic Relief in Gaza and participated in the inauguration of the Health Professions Lab at Al-Azhar University which was co-funded by Islamic Relief and the British Consulate,” a statement reads on the site. Islamic Relief is an international organization that provides monetary support to Islamic communities around the world. “The inauguration of the lab was attended by the British Consul, Islamic Relief Country Director Muneeb Abu Ghazaleh and a number of representatives from the consulate, the university and Islamic Relief. The project involved furnishing and rehabilitating the health professions lab at Al-Azhar College for intermediate studies including the basic needs of furniture and installations.”

For the record, Mr. Moore, the image on the scarf, which is also seen on a poster sometimes proudly brandished in photos by Ramallah-based PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, does not “appear” to advocate anything. It clearly advocates, in bold color and fabric, the absolute annihilation of the Jewish State and always has.

The desire has been stated repeatedly in all Palestinian Arab media. For your convenience those constant bits of incitement and hate — fed regularly even to Palestinian Arab children as young as three years old — are translated into understandable English by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) watchdog and Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) organizations.

They are broadcast on television and disseminated in print media by the Fatah-led “moderate” Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority government that re-united a few months ago with the bloodthirsty Hamas terrorist organization.

Of course, they are also broadcast on television and posted on the Internet in much blunter, more stark, easy-to-understand language by the Gaza-based Hamas government..

But Hamas has always been the more honest and straightforward of the two factions, stating clearly from the outset in its founding charter that its raison d’etre is the destruction and elimination of the State of Israel.

Didn’t you know that?

Imam: Pope Must Say ‘Islam is Peaceful’ to Renew Ties With Islam

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

The leader of Islam’s most important university and also the Egyptian mosque by the same name, Al-Azhar, has offered to renew relations with the Vatican.  The olive branch came with a note: first Pope Francis should publicly declare that “Islam is a peaceful religion.”

The Muslim world severed ties with the Catholic Church in 2006. Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned this spring, discussed an incident in which Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, was described as a warmonger who spread evil teachings.  The Muslim world did not like that. Relations resumed a few years later, but were broken off again in 2011, when Pope Benedict publicly denounced the bombing of a church in Alexandria, Egypt.  More than 20 people were killed in that bombing, and nearly 100 additional church goers were wounded.

Ahmed al-Tayeb is the grand Imam of al-Azhar and also the president of al-Azhar University.  Through his diplomatic envoy, Mahmour Abdel Gawad, al-Tayeb made an overture to Pope Francis.  He explained that Islam does not have a problem with the papacy, the problem was with the prior pope.  Gawad made it clear, however, that the first step to re-establishing the relationship had to be taken by the Vatican. He said,

Francis is a new pope. We are expecting a step forward from him. If in one of his addresses he were to declare that Islam is a peaceful religion, that Muslims are not looking for war or violence, that would be progress in itself.

But given that the break with the Catholic Church was over Islam’s violent persecution of Copts in Egypt, the Copts understandably suggest that it is wholly within al-Tayeb and his followers’ ability to mend the breach. The Copts are a persecuted minority in Egypt, thousands of whom are fleeing their Egyptian homeland because of that persecution.

The Voice of the Copts is an American and Italian-based organization of Copts which opposes the spread of global Islam. The Copts are the largest Christian sect in Egypt, and they constitute approximately 15 percent of the Egyptian population, and they date back to the era immediately following the death of Jesus.

The Copts do not see themselves as Arab, but instead as non-Arab descendents of the ancient civilization of Egypt, who are Christian.

Within days of al-Tayeb’s offer to restart relations with the Catholic Church by imposing a precondition on Rome, an organization called Voice of the Copts offered an alternative: al-Tayeb should instead

issue a formal, public statement directed to his followers in the Arabic language conveying an unequivocal message that Muslims attacking Christians in Egypt do not conform to a tenet of Islam and will no longer be tolerated. A clear denunciation of Muslim sectarian violence against Christians in Egypt by Sunni religious leaders would be welcomed as Al-Azhar seeks the Pope’s endorsement of Muslim non-violence.

Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, founder and president of Voice of the Copts, an organization made up of many thousands, said that it is up to Islam’s leaders to ensure that the religion’s followers are peaceful, because at the moment Islam is “a religion that many around the world see as warmongering and violent.”

Al-Tayeb had suggested that if Pope Francis intended to visit Egypt to meet with Pope Tawadros II, the pontiff should also come visit with him at al-Azhar.

Pope Tawadros traveled to Rome and met with Pope Francis last month.  It was the first meeting between leaders of the two churches in 40 years.

While the head of al-Azhar said he would look forward to meeting with the head of Church of Rome, he said that he was not interested in a sit-down with all three heads of the world’s main monotheistic religions, an idea that had been floated by the Vatican.  He said Al-Azhar “will not take part in any meeting with Israelis.”

Sadly enough, the current Coptic Orthodox Pope, like the last, is at one with al-Tayeb on this point.  He continues the position his predecessor had of opposing normalization with Israel. He said in November, 2012, shortly after his election, that “We won’t encourage Copts to visit Jerusalem, as we can’t accept the idea of Copts selling out the Arab cause.”

When The Jewish Press asked Dr. Rameleh about this point, he responded in an email, saying, “I can’t say enough about how disappointed we are that Pope Tawadros II followed in the footsteps of Pope Shenouda II before him on the issue of Israel.  There is no excuse for this at all. Voice of the Copts is clear on standing against this ‘Arab cause’ position and the boycott of travel to Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/imam-pope-must-say-islam-is-peaceful-to-renew-ties-with-islam/2013/06/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: