CAIRO: Member of Parliament Aly Laban filed an urgent inquiry to Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif regarding the government’s new law for Al-Azhar’s renovation, which he described as “a plan to break down Al-Azhar.
In an official statement made by Muslim Brotherhood MP Laban and sent to Daily News Egypt, he says the new project, which is already being implemented, is riddled with problems.
Laban criticized the decision to open a new branch for manual skills training where 4,000 high school Azhar graduates whose final grade is less than 60 percent “will be forced to enroll.
Laban believes that this move contradicts Article 33 of Al-Azhar law for year 1961 that clearly indicates that Al-Azhar University only offers university education.
Secondly, according to Laban, the new law will separate Al-Azhar, the religious institution, from Al-Azhar University which, according to Laban will lead to internal havoc and “have a negative effect on the leadership of Al-Azhar.
According to the new law, he says, the president of Al-Azhar University will be assigned as Minister for Al-Azhar Affairs, a post that overlaps with Al-Azhar’s Grand Sheikh’s, which, he says, “horribly undermines the authority of Sheikh Al-Azhar.
The new law will also separate the science and arts schools from those specializing in Islamic studies, while under the current system, Islamic studies are part of the core curriculum to be attended by students of all specializations.
Laban also warned from the “possible increase in school fees for foreign students studying in Al-Azhar which will drive them to other Islamic schools and universities that adopt extreme ideologies and which are not as professional or established as Al-Azhar.
Independent MP Mostafa Bakry, seconded Laban’s rejection of the new plans and accused Nazif of “trying to minimize the role of both Al-Azhar institution and Al-Azhar University.
“The new project will change the nature of Al-Azhar University as it will also allow the mingling of sexes, according to Laban’s statement to Nazif.
Laban asked for a quick response to the new law which he described as “destructive and “panders to the West.