Azhar preachers demand Grand Imam’s resignation over supporting “

15 July 2013 11:52
CAIRO (QHA) - Several scholars and preachers affiliated to Al-Azhar, the highest seat of learning in the Sunni world, are demanding the resignation of Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb over his support to what they described as a coup against elected President Mohammad Morsi. “We want Al-Azhar institution purged from corrupt elements and want the grand imam to go for supporting the coup,” Sheikh Khalaf el-Sohagi, a preacher, told a conference of like-minded preachers and scholars, according to Anadolu Agency. The conference, “Preachers Against Coup,” was organized Sunday inside Al-Azhar Mosque to show support for ousted Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president. The powerful army overthrew Morsi on July 3 following mass protests against his regime. Under a roadmap coordinated with some political, youth and religious leaders, including Sheikh Tayeb, the army suspended the constitution and named the head of the constitutional court as interim president. The president has since issued a constitutional declaration disbanding the Islamists-dominated Shura Council, the upper house of parliament. Scores of Muslim Brotherhood and FJP leaders have been arrested and are facing charges of espionage, insulting the judiciary and incitement to murder. Loyalists of Morsi have since been staging mass protests and rallies nationwide, decrying what they describe as a military coup and demanding that all recent measures be revoked. “This is a coup,” Talaat Afifi, the minister of religious endowment in Morsi’s government, told the conference participants. “We will never recognize the legitimacy of this coup,” agreed Gamal Abdel Satar, the ministry’s undersecretary. The conference final declaration, read out by Afifi, demanded the restoration of the president, the Shura Council and the constitution. It also demanded an immediate halt to the crackdown on Islamists and the reopening of Islamic channels closed down by the authorities after removing Morsi.