AFRICA/EGYPT - Al Azhar presents a bill against those who use religion to justify violence and hate campaigns

Cairo - The scholars of the University of al Azhar, the main theological-academic center of Sunni Islam, submitted the text of a bill to the offices of the Presidency of the Egyptian Republic to counter violence and sectarian hate propaganda justified in the name of religion. This is what Sheikh Ahmed al Tayyib, the Great Imam of Azhar reported, specifying that the bill aims to reaffirm the total incompatibility between the violence justified by religious arguments and Islamic law. The bill, endorsed by al Azhar scholars, and then presented last week to the collaborators of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi, aims to reduce hate speech and intolerance promoted by extremist groups and to re-propose the principle of citizenship as the basis of peaceful and fruitful coexistence among fellow countrymen belonging to different religious components.
The Committee that worked on the draft bill, led by Mohamed Abdel Salam - legal adviser of the Great Imam of al Azhar - had been composed on May 13, and was made up of five scholars, specialized in various legal sectors. In the drafting of the bill, members of the Committee took into account universal reference texts such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the Egyptian Constitution and the provisions of criminal law in force in Egypt. The bill avoids entering in the details of the individual penalties to be imposed on those responsible for instigating religious hatred and crimes related to it, which will be specified by the judicial authority. The initiative has the obvious goal of expressing a clear distance from al Azhar over theories and propaganda that in the Islamic community justify hate and violence by citing the Koran and using religious topics.