Egypt Azhar university head replaced after ‘apostacy’ remarks

This file photo taken on April 28, 2017 shows Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, delivering a speech during the visit of Pope Francis to the prestigious Sunni institution in Cairo. Sheikh Al-Tayeb replaced Ahmed Hosni Taha, the head of Egypt's Al-Azhar university, after labelling a controversial Muslim reformer an apostate. (AFP / Andreas Solaro)
Updated 06 May 2017
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Egypt Azhar university head replaced after ‘apostacy’ remarks

CAIRO: The head of Egypt’s Al-Azhar university, one of the world’s leading Islamic seats of learning, has been replaced after labelling a controversial Muslim reformer an apostate, the institution said.
The development came as Al-Azhar is pressured by critics who say the venerable Sunni Muslim authority has not done enough to counter Islamist extremism.
Ahmed Hosni Taha, the acting university president, had been forced to apologize on Thursday after saying reformer Islam Al-Behairy was an “apostate” for attacking some of the founding scholars of Islamic law.
His apology was followed by a statement on Friday from Al-Azhar saying that Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb, who heads the institution that runs the university, had replaced Taha.
Taha had made the remarks about Behairy during a television interview.
“My response...was incorrect and it contradicts the way of Al-Azhar,” Taha said in an apology posted on the university’s website.
Behairy was a talk show host who had infuriated Al-Azhar’s traditional clergy with attacks on canonical religious books and some of Sunni Islam’s most important scholars.
He was sentenced to a year in prison for “insulting religion” and released in late 2016 in a presidential pardon.


Hezbollah names Beirut street after Rafiq Hariri assassin

Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in a blast in Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005. (AFP)
Updated 42 min 53 sec ago
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Hezbollah names Beirut street after Rafiq Hariri assassin

  • The decision to name the street after him was “unconstitutional” and “an unnecessary act of provocation,” a source at the Interior Ministry told Arab News

BEIRUT: Pro-Hezbollah politicians in south Beirut were accused of provocation on Tuesday for naming a street after the assassin who plotted the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

To rub salt in the wound, the street is adjacent to the city’s Rafiq Hariri University Hospital. Hariri’s son, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, described the decision by Ghobeiry municipality as “sedition.” 

Hezbollah commander and bomb-maker Mustafa Badreddine was described last week by the prosecution at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague as “the main conspirer” in the assassination of Hariri, who died when his motorcade was blown up in central Beirut in February 2005. Badreddine himself was murdered in Damascus in 2016.

The decision to name the street after him was “unconstitutional” and “an unnecessary act of provocation,” a source at the Interior Ministry told Arab News.

“There is no precedent for resorting to these methods in naming streets, especially when the name is the subject of political and sectarian dispute between the people of Lebanon and may pose a threat to security and public order.”

A Future Movement official said: “What has happened proves that Hezbollah has an absurd mentality. There are people in Lebanon who care about the country, and others who don’t. This group considers the murderers of Rafiq Hariri its heroes, but they are illusory heroes.”