Al-Azhar calls for democratic state

Egypt should establish a democratic state based on a constitution that satisfies all Egyptians, Al-Azhar announced in a document released Monday.

"There should be a democratic system that is based on elections to achieve concepts for Islamic consultation and penalizing officials," Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Al-Azhar's grand sheikh, said in a press conference.

Tayyeb said a variety of Egyptian intellectuals took part in the discussions that led up to the release of the document, which states a commitment to basic freedoms of thought and expression, as well as to respecting others.

He stressed the necessity of supporting Al-Azhar's independence and selecting its grand sheikh by Muslim Senior Scholars Authority elections instead of by appointment.

Egyptian state-run TV posted a report on its website saying the document includes 11 terms for Egypt during the upcoming period, highlighting the relationship between a civilian country, religion and education development. 

The document, according to the report, is considered a draft constitution. It confirms that Egypt is a civilian country that provides care for all Egyptians without discrimination based on gender or religion, and that education, health and scientific research are among its priorities.

The report added that some political trends had reservations over some of the document’s terms, so Tayyeb held five meetings with various intellectuals to reach a final draft. 

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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