Egypt’s official religious authority launches initiative to bring key political and religious figures together to discuss "completing the revolution’s goals."
The handover of power from the military must happen “on schedule and without delay” and the current trials of former regime officials must be accelerated, said Al-Azhar at a meeting hosted by the Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb, on Wednesday.
The statement comes as a conclusion to a national dialogue conference run by Al-Azhar, the leading Sunni authority in the Muslim world, aimed at bringing key political and religious figures together to discuss “regaining the spirit of the revolution and completing its goals.”
The concluding statement emphasised the importance of the army "returning to its original role of protecting Egypt`s borders and national security" and prioritising the state’s responsibility to tend to the needs and rights of the martyrs` families and the injured protesters.
The statement also called for national unity without "elimination or bias" from any of its national forces.
The conference reportedly included forty key political and religious figures including Coptic Christian Patriarch Pope Shenouda III, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie as well as current Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri.
Also present were presidential contenders Amr Moussa and Mohamed Selim El-Awa, head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Mohamed Abou El-Ghar, head of the Wafd Party, El-Sayed El-Badawy as well as newly-elected parliamentarian and head of Al-Adl Party, Mustafa El-Naggar and head of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, Ahmed Said.
Despite a longstanding conflict between varying Islamist groups and Al-Azhar, Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassan, Jamaa Islamiya’s leading figure Essam Derbala and a Sufi representative also attended the meeting. This could be regarded as a gesture of willingness on the part of the different groups to engage in dialogue with the Islamic institution.
[Produced in partnership with Ahram Online.]
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