FILE – Egyptian lawyer Samir Sabry
CAIRO – 22 November 2017: Egyptian lawyer Samir Sabry filed Tuesday an urgent suit against the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to abolish the list of 50 scholars permitted to issue Fatwas, religious rulings.
The suit was filed to the Administrative Court and was also against Makram Mohamed Ahmed, the Chairman of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR).
Sabry stated that the list of 50 scholars, which was authorized by Al-Azhar and Dar al-Iftaa to give religious advisories in media outlets, included names known for their support of the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohamed Morsi during his rule.
Sabry claimed that among those names was Sheikh Abbas Shoman, deputy for Al-Azhar; the accusation condemns him as a secret representative for the Muslim Brotherhood at Al-Azhar. He was one of the defenders of the Rab’a massacre and the regime of the Muslim Brotherhood. He added that Shoman has been recently chosen for a new term as a deputy of Al-Azhar by President Sisi which poses a security concern.
The suit also included Abdel Halim Mohamed Mansour, dean of the Faculty of Sharia and Law in Dakahlia, who posted on Facebook mourning the ‘martyrs’ of Rab’a, as well as Sheikh Abdul Hamid Al Sayed Ahmed, a member of the Al-Azhar Center for Electronic Fatwa.
Sabry added that the presence of loyalists of the terrorist group and their support of the organization's attack on the state constitutes a serious threat to Fatwa, also stating that these connections have a direct negative impact on the country and on the Egyptian state in general.
Mohammed al-Shahat al-Jundi, a member of the Islamic Research Academy, denied the claim, indicating that no one can say that the Grand Imam and Al-Azhar have not had a role in fighting the Muslim Brotherhood and all misleading Fatwas.
In a press conference at the SCMR headquarters, Makram Mohamed Ahmed clarified that SCMR will regulate religious discourse until legislation is issued to organize means of religious advisory in Egypt.
The SCMR’s chairman added that the SCMR will demand all media outlets to adhere to a list of 50 scholars authorized by Al-Azhar and Dar al-Iftaa to give religious advice in media.
“According to the decision’s regulations, freedom of expression in religious issues is not included in the religious advisory activity,” Ahmed stressed.
“Yet it will be conditioned with awareness and commitment to moderation, and will avoid abusing other religions or using extremism,” he stated.
The SCMR clarified that punishments will include banning the violator from being hosted on media outlets.
A source from Al-Azhar clarified that the 50 scholars on the SCMR’s list are the only ones who have the right to give Fatwa on media shows.