Egypt’s grand mufti: Civil state not at odds with Islam

Egypt is a liberal country governed by a democratic system approved by Muslim scholars, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa told Al-Masry Al-Youm in an interview published Wednesday.

Gomaa stressed that the concept of a civil state doesn’t contradict Islamic law, but conforms to it.

In Egypt, a civil state means a modern nationalist state that is compatible with Islamic provisions, Gomaa said. He said Egypt did not import the civil state model from the West and that the model has existed for about 150 years.

The state relies on its constitution, institutions, parliament, and administrative and judicial systems — all consistent with Islamic Sharia — to adopt the civil model, Gomaa said.

Egyptians have chosen to give religion a part in running public affairs by electing an Islamist majority in the parliamentary elections, a fact that should not worry other countries, Gomaa said.

Gomaa emphasized that Egypt’s religious traditions are historically linked to Islamic concepts that are based on tolerance and respect for religious differences.

He said Egypt’s Islamic identity does not clash with its civil system, which defends citizens’ rights regardless of their faith.

The mufti said the rights of Egypt’s Coptic Christians will be protected and that religious diversity should be respected.

Gomaa described the unity between Egypt’s religious sects as a unique historical experience. That harmony is impregnable, he said.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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