The following MEMRI video shows excerpts from an address given last week by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to an audience at Al-Azhar University in Cairo on the occasion of Mohammed’s birthday. Gen. el-Sisi takes the opportunity to send Christmas greetings to Christians among his fellow countrymen. He calls for true religious freedom in Egypt, where citizens should be free to choose their religion without fear of physical or social coercion. He tells the clerics in his audience that this is the message they should preach from the pulpits of their mosques.
Watch as the camera pans across the audience, and you’ll see a lot of hats that look like truncated Santa Claus caps. These are badges of office worn by scholars who have been certified in their Islamic studies by Al-Azhar University, the most prestigious academic institution in Islam. What President el-Sisi is telling them is contrary to the “consensus of the scholars”, that is, to more than a thousand years of universally accepted Islamic principle and praxis.
What he is calling for is, in effect, the rewriting of the basis of Islamic law. And his words are being spoken in the heart of Islamic scholarship and jurisprudence. It’s a remarkable moment:
Hat tip: Nash Montana.