Egyptian Al-Azhar Sheikh: Insulting Islam became tool to amass votes

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Wed, 28 Oct 2020 - 05:30 GMT

Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar speaks in a ceremony to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday – Screenshot/national TV

Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar speaks in a ceremony to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday – Screenshot/national TV

CAIRO – 28 October 2020: Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the top religious authority in Egypt, said that insulting Islam and Muslims has become a tool to attract votes in the elections.

 

Tayeb’s remarks come while French President Emmanuel Macron had said France would not renounce cartoons, after a French teacher was killed for showing pupils cartoons distorting the image of Prophet Muhammad.

 

Macron’s remarks have triggered Muslim nations’ anger. Also, campaigns to boycott French products have been circulated and encouraged on social media.

 

“These caricatures insulting our great prophet, adopted by some newspapers, magazines and polices … are an explicit hatred to this true religion and its prophet who was sent by Allah as a mercy for the worlds,” Tayeb said in a ceremony to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

 

“The Islamic world and its religious institutions, in the forefront of which is: Al-Azhar has hastened to condemn the repugnant murder of a French teacher in Paris,” Tayeb said, condemning, however, insults against Islam.

 

Tayeb called on the international community to pass an international resolution that would criminalize hate or discrimination against Muslims.

 

He also highlighted the importance that Muslim people “positively integrate” into the societies they live in, in a way that preserves their religious and cultural identities and protects them from political Islamist groups, provocations of the extreme right and racism.

 

“Muslim citizens have to abide by peaceful, legal and rational ways in resisting hate speech and gaining their legitimate rights,” he added.

 

He said he is “wholly surprised” that some countries that have been promoting itself as a sponsor of culture, civilization, enlightenment, knowledge, modernity and human rights are now holding a call for hate on the other hand.

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