Clerics protest for better conditions and independence

For the second consecutive day, around 200 imams and preachers from mosques in different governorates protested in Bab el-Louq in downtown Cairo.

They protested the interference of state security in their appointments and work, and demanded improved working conditions and the independence of Al-Azhar University, the most important center for Sunni learning in the world.

They assembled in front of the Ministry of Religious Endowments, and submitted a memorandum to the minister urging the creation of a new cadre system to enhance their social and financial status. They request want higher incentives and better teaching aides.

They want Al-Azhar's prestige preserved, along with article 2 of Egypt's Constitution–affirming that Islam is the main source of legislation. They asked that their senior officials, including the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, be chosen through elections.

Observers note that former president Hosni Mubarak’s regime exploited Al-Azhar as a tool to mould public opinion. During the popular uprising that started on January 25, what's more, his regime used mosques to try and dissuade citizens from taking part.

Today's protesters came form Beheira, Daqahliya, Monufiya, Sharqiya, Suhag, Kafr al-Sheikh and Fayoum.

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