Sunday, December 8, 2013

Religion and Egypt

The article below, purported to be  from the Grand Mufti of Egypt has a disclaimer from Reuters as follows:
The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Shawky Allam is the Grand Mufti of Egypt.

Another out of the ordinary take on the article is how Reuters has titled the item: 
Guestview: The emerging role of religion in Egypt By Guest Contributor 
By Grand Mufti Shawky Allam
....As Egypt moves ahead along its roadmap after the new draft constitution was brought to fruition, it is only natural to expect more changes in the near future.

But how Egypt will change? What will it develop into? One of the most important questions is what role religion and religious forces will play in the still emerging political scene. Because Egyptian society remains a profoundly religious, the burning question is who can adequately represent the religious interests of the masses and direct them towards peaceful and productive democratic ends?.....

.......I have always been adamant that all parties must be allowed to participate fully in the political process and exercise all associated political rights. No political party should be excluded from the political landscape. This is the only way to create a truly national reconciliation. In this spirit, however, I also feel duty-bound to advise all such parties that the integrity and safeguarding the interests of our nation takes precedence over and above all other personal interests. This must be a central plank of any political participation at this sensitive juncture.

Our understanding of Islam’s role is to play in Egypt is that of a custodian and advocate of the religious and social welfare of all Egyptians. It also serves as a representative of the Muslim community at large by acting as a check on the moral conscience of political decision makers.

The process of issuing fatwas – the primary role of the Dar al-Ifta – is integral to this process of engagement with the modern world. Flexibility is an integral part of the Islamic legal tradition. Many in the Western world have come to identify the fatwa with some unfortunate pronouncements of political or self-appointed religious leaders. But fatwa-giving is in fact one of the most important institutions for properly understanding the relationship ........

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