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Al Azhar initiative deserves praise

Its Bill of Rights upholding freedom of expression and belief comes at right time

Gulf News

The recent position of Al Azhar on rights and freedom is welcomed. This is being said given that Egypt cannot afford divisions — religious, political, or ethnic. And it is here where authoritative religious entities and leaders play a pivotal role in keeping the community together and ensuring unity under the umbrella of the nation state.

The head of Al Azhar has put forward a Bill of Rights upholding freedom of expression and belief ahead of the beginning of the process of drafting a new constitution.

The bill comes as an attempt by Al Azhar to show its neutrality and objective standing when it comes to rights and freedom as well as standing as an example of moderate Islam. This recent step is one in a series which have been taken as adaptive measures to the changing political environment in Egypt.

Within this context, Al Azhar's move is encouraging as it has to deal with the changing landscape with adaptability and flexibility.

In addition, the latest step is important as all religious entities have to keep away from any political alliance or favouritism. The role of such entities, after all, is to bring communities together and strengthen the fabric of society.