Al-Azhar rebuffs WikiLeaks claim of institution’s dependency

Al-Azhar has rejected claims of its dependency on Gulf countries as alleged by documents on the Wikileaks website, which recently released communications that exposes the parameters of Saudi diplomacy.
In a statement on Sunday, Al-Azhar, the highest religious institution in the Sunni Muslim world, said it bases its stances on “sheerly scientific and nationalist grounds,” adding that the institution “can never be dictated”.
The leaks suggested Al-Azhar made prior contact with Saudi Arabia to coordinate a common Sunni position before a meeting with representatives from the majority Shi'ia community in Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch regional rival.
Al-Azhar, commenting on the widely-circulated documents, said it does not hesitate to engage with “Muslim scholars and the intellectual elite in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or any other Arab and Muslim country for the welfare of Islam and Muslims in general.”
Al-Azhar stressed that the communications resulted in a conference in Cairo which, it said, tackled efforts to end Sunni-Shi'ia divisions, and was attended by Islamic scholars from several Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia.
Edited translation from Al-Masiry Al-Youm

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