By Mostafa Salem
Al-Azhar began calling on different political factions and individuals on Saturday, as part of its effort to achieve national reconciliation, following a decision reached on Wednesday, reported state-run MENA.
The initiative called upon all “different” political factions who introduced past proposals to convene in order to resolve the “current crisis” after the Eid Al-Fitr holiday.
The decision, reached on Wednesday by Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayeb, faced acceptance and refusal by a number of political factions and individuals.
Several prominent Islamic figures refused calls by Al-Azhar to commence a national dialogue on Sunday such as Ahmad Aref, Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson, who called the Al-Azhar grand imam a “supporter of a military coup” in a televised interview.
Essam Al-Erian, vice-chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party accused the “current Al-Azhar of betraying a legitimate ruler” and condoning the “starvation of peaceful protesters.”
Building and Development media spokesmen confirmed their refusal of the initiative calling Al-Azhar “a supporter of the military coup” and stated that before the initiative can take place “Mohamed Morsi has to be released.”
Other refusals of the initiative came from the Conscience Front and from ex-members of parliament, Mohamed Abo Hamed and Mostafa Bakry, who called on Al-Azhar to withdraw its initiative because the “time for dialogue is over.”