Wednesday 11 January 2012

Al Azhar's "Basic Freedoms Document", and the Mufti's Interview

Al Azhar, under the leadership of Grand Sheikh Ahmad Al Tayyib, has issued a "Basic Freedoms Document", as part of an effort to maintain a moderate approach and interpretation of religion in Egypt, and ahead of what may turn out to be a very difficult constitutional battle with regards to civil liberties, with Islamist parties dominating more than 60-65% of parliament. AMAY describes the document a bit:

The document lists freedom of belief, opinion, expression, scientific research, and art and literary creativity, which Tayyeb said reflect Al-Azhar’s vision for society. 
At a news conference on Tuesday, Tayyeb said that all citizens have the right to freedom of belief, and that all citizens must take into account the feelings of others. He added that equality must be based on a solid foundation of citizenship, partnership, equal opportunity, rights and duties. 
He stressed that freedom of belief goes against tendencies to label people as infidels, the condemnation of beliefs, and a propensity to doubt the intentions of the faithful. 
Tayyeb said the document included freedoms of opinion and expression, and that such freedoms should apply to the media, as well as to political parties and civil society organizations. 
The document also guarantees the right to obtain the information necessary to express an opinion, while respecting the beliefs and rituals of the three Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism). Tayyeb said this was necessary to preserve the nation’s fabric and national security, as well as to prevent sectarian strife. 
The Grand Sheikh also stressed the importance of artistic freedom, which he said also allows for constructive criticism of society, while taking into account ethical values and religious sensitivities

Later on, AMAY publishes an interview with the Mufti, Dr. Ali Gum'aa. There are a few interesting quotes, as AMAY reports them, that caught my attention:

- "Egypt was a liberal state governed by a democratic system, all with the approval of the Scientists of Muslims."

- "The principles of liberal democracy that aim to promote freedom and human dignity are part of the foundation of Islam's Universalism."

- "Islam aims to promote freedom, human dignity and social justice."

He also went to say that nothing religiously forbids a woman from becoming an official source of Fatwa, and that Men & women have same rights & responsibilities. He also said that the Expression 'Civil State' does not contradict Islam, but rather is in accordance with it.

I really have nothing to say. Just wanted to post these excerpts.

(Don't look at me like that. I deserve a vacation, okay?!)

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