Al-Azhar's Grand Imam to respond to Salafists' 'plan' to remove him

News article, posted 12.26.2012, from Egypt, in:
Al-Azhar's Grand Imam to respond to Salafists' 'plan' to remove him (Photo: Reuters)

Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb is to hold a press conference on Monday responding to allegations made by Salafist preacher Yasser Borhami that Islamists reached a deal with the Imam whereby Al-Azhar's representatives in the Constitutuent Assembly agreed to give more prominence for Sharia in the draft constitution in exchange for Islamists agreeing to immune the Imam from removal.

In a video circulating on social media networks, Borhami, a member of the assembly that wrote the country's draft constitution, was seen apologising at length to a Salafist conference organised last month for "his inability to convince the assembly to remove the article making the Al-Azhar Grand Imam immune from removal."

The controversial preacher, however, told his audience the non-removal clause could be circumvented by issuing a law in a new parliament that sets a retirement age for the head of the prestigious Sunni institution.

Borhami further explained that he would not have been able to pass an interpretation of sharia (Islamic law) had he not coupled it with rendering the Grand Imam immune from attempts to unseat him.

According to Borhami, Article 219 of the draft constitution which included a stricter definition of the "principles of sharia" named in Article 2 of the draft as the main source of legislation, could only pass in exchange for rendering El-Tayeb's position immune.

Article 219 states that "the principles of Islamic sharia include general evidence, foundational rules, rules of jurisprudence, and credible sources accepted in Sunni doctrines and by the larger community."

"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," Borhami gloated to an excited audience in the video.

Borahmi said he will also be seeking for the next Grand Imam after El-Tayeb to be chosen by Al-Azhar sheikhs, and not appointed by the president.

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