Al-Azhar professor: ‘Intellectuals’ should be excluded from religious reform debates

An al-Azhar professor has said that what he called “intellectuals” should not be engaged in debates over the reforms that are needed within the area of religious discourse.
Ahmed Karima, a professor of Islamic law, said the participation of “intellectuals” in renewing religious discourse as per President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s call is unacceptable. He was possibly referring to the intelligentsia who do not belong to al-Azhar, nor are they versed in religious sciences.
“If we want to handle extremism and terrorism, then we need a team of scholars rather than a new discourse,” Karima told satellite channel ONTV late Saturday. “We have requested many times to redraw the Islamic culture”.
Egypt has sought to crackdown on religious speech stoking hostility against the state since the ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. In line with Sisi's call to combat hardline thought, Al-Azhar and The Endowments Ministry have embarked on efforts to filter literature and restrict preaching activities they deem hateful and that they feel fuel extremism .
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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