maandag 8 februari 2010

Al-Azhar, fitting the Grand Saudi scheme for religious and political domination?

by Yassine Channouf

Sheikh Al-Azhar Tantawi issued another foolish statement the other day. He sent a message to the world stating that 'bringing the Islamic sects closer to each other' is not on the agenda of a conference organized by him which will take place the 28th of February. Those who are going to be affected by his new vision are the Muslim Shi'ite scholars who will probably be barred from coming. The previous Egyptian Mufti Nasr Farid already alluded to this by saying that 'maybe the Shi'ite scholars from Iran or Hezbollah are not welcome in Egypt now or inviting them on behalf of his position as leader of the conference will humiliate Tantawi in the face of the Egyptian political leadership with regards to the tensions between the two countries [Iran and Egypt].' Nasr Farid is right, but the puppet-clerics of al-Azhar continue to play a vile sectarian game, claiming that the subject of the conference, the companions of the prophet Mohamed, is impeding the participating of the Shi'ite scholars. Of course Mr. Tantawi!
Not so long ago I was in al-Azhar, and I managed to talk to some students of that institute. One Egyptian, Hasan, who spends much of his time bringing free books on Islam to Western tourists at al-Azhar asked me what I think about their Sheikh. I responded the way I did when people over there would ask me about Mubarak: I do not like him for one bit. He told me why. I responded that I found it incredible that a scholar, any scholar, let alone such a high profile one as sheikh al-Azhar, could greet the president of the Zionist entity Israel Shimon Peres. And only to claim afterwards that he did not know it was Shimon Peres. Of course Mr. Tantawi, we Believe you. I have that problem as well, running into presidents in the streets of Cairo and mixing them up.
Secondly, I told the al-Azhar student that we in Europe were greatly disturbed with the developments that unfolded in al-Azhar regarding the hijab controversy in France. And as we all know one scholar was all too eager to issue a fatwa endorsing Sarkozy and France's banning of hijab in state schools. Guess who? Just minutes before our discussion on this particular subject a female tourist entered the mosque and Hasan stood up and hurried to tell her she must wear a veil before entering the mosque. So my argument was a good one. But Hasan needed not to be convinced. He somewhat assured me that he did not like Tantawi himself.
How can you blame him? Not so long ago he blundered again by demanding the unniqabing of a female student in a high school he visited. The teacher of the girl gently approached Tantawi saying that it was inappropriate to demand that the girl should reveal herself to him. Tantawi would not budge and the girl finally took of her niqab, to which sheikh al-Azhar responded: 'so what would you do if you were a bit pretty?' This incident occurred prior to the polemic of Tantawi endorsing a fatwa -yes, another one- banning niqabs in high schools and universities. His earlier view on the niqab can be summarized by what he said: 'a very beautiful woman should wear it to prevent men from fighting over her, and an ugly woman should wear it to hide her face'. How can anyone seriously consider the opinions of this man? So what is it mr. Tantawi? Are you pro-niqab or anti-niqab? Because those who ought to follow you have lost you. Not that I am for the niqab, but it is not the issue now. Rather, I want to demonstrate how foolish this 1000 years old institute seems to have become.
Just a couple of days ago, another lunatic of al-Azhar made a statement which no doubt will increase the standing of al-Azhar among the young of the Muslim community. Abd al-Hamid al-Atrash basically prohibited facebook. Why doesn't he prohibit the killing of Coptic Christians instead of prohibiting facebook?
What the hell or paradise are you occupying yourself with, o clerics of al-Azhar? Do you not know that now, as we speak, some 50 brave individuals are facing court after being brutally tortured because they were part of a secret cell that supported the Resistance in Gaza during and after Israel's brutal assault on Gaza. And yes, the leader of the cell is a Shi'ite, Sami Shihab, a member of Hezbollah. Do you applaud that o clerics of al-Azhar. Do you endorse the fact that he will most likely be executed for his heroic deeds? Is that the Islam you spent your life studying? O, wait. I forgot the official Azhari policy: resistance is religiously impermissible. And that is why the sheikh of lunatics Tantawi endorsed Mubaraks Shame Wall -his third one- in order to strangulate Gaza. He even issued a fatwa -can you still count them- stating the wall is religiously permissible! I wish I was kidding. Even sheikh al-Qaradawi, normally the last to attack an Arab country, collected all the bravery he could muster and attacked this scandalous move and fatwa from the Mubarak government.
But this all fits the grand Saudi scheme for US-Zionist domination of the region. Countries or non-state actors that do not succumb to the pressure and become slaves of the Americans need to be eliminated by all means necessary, regardless of their credos. That is why the sectarian game is being played. But o House of Saud, do you not remember supporting one Sayyid Qutb? He is seen as the founding father of modern day Salafiyya, the jihadi branch. Even he wrote a letter to grand Shi'ite ayatollah Kashani in the early 50's supporting the Mossadeq-revolution. So what is next move we can expect? Clerics need to be brave. They are an essential part of the Arab world and they have the potential to cause revolutionary stirrings, how symbolic their opposition may be sometimes. Did not we all take pride in the humiliation Mubarak received, standing besides Egypt's top cleric Sharawi in the early 90s who, instead of praising the president, proclaimed in the middle of al-Azhar that he was an old man who did not wish to end his life with hypocrisy! And where are the days of the blind Egyptian sheikh Kishk, the preacher in the pulpit, who did not use more than his voice to shake the foundations of the Egyptian regime. I remember his emotional response to the Sharon led Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. That was at the same time when these same Azhari scholars were issuing legal opinions regarding the usage of vinaigrette and sunglasses. Up to 40.000 Palestinians and Lebanese died in that invasion, and no vinaigrette or sunglasses will bring them back o dear guardians of the permissible. And yes, Kishk unequivocally supported the Resistance in Lebanon, the Iranian Revolution, the Brotherhood uprising in Hama, Syria, no matter how difficult such a stance may have been in Egypt. He was clearly against sectarianism, and so should we. And if you oppose sectarianism you essentially oppose the grand US-Zionist-Saudi scheme for their New Middle East, which will, thanks to the Lebanese Resistance Hezbollah, never sprout. Fatwa that o Tantawi.

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