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Egyptian political parties sign Al-Azhar document renouncing violence

February 17, 2014 at 1:50 am

Egyptian political parties and groups have signed a document renouncing violence, a move called for by the authorities at Al-Azhar Mosque and University during a meeting they sponsored on Thursday. The meeting was held as part of the efforts to resolve the political crisis across the country.

Both liberal and Islamic political forces attended the meeting, including representatives of the opposition National Salvation Front, the Muslim Brotherhood and Youth of the Revolution, as well as the churches. Among the participants were Mohamed El-Baradei, Hamdeen Sabahi and Amr Moussa of the Salvation Front; the head of the Freedom and Justice Party, Saad Katatni; the chairman of the Strong Egypt Party, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh; the El-Wasat Party head, Abul Ela Madi; and representatives of the Salafist parties. Bishops Armiah and Morkes were there on behalf of the Egyptian churches.

Al- Azhar’s Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb said in a statement ahead of the meeting that it was an initiative of the youth who participated in the revolution. The intention, said Sheikh Al-Tayeb, was to stress the sanctity of all human life and the diversity of society. Those attending, along with the media and various intellectuals and religious figures, were invited to renounce violence and call for a peaceful approach and dialogue as the means to resolve differences. According to the chairman of Ghad El-Thawra Party, Ayman Nour, the initiative represents a serious basis to solve the crisis in the country.

In Germany, meanwhile, Amnesty International organised a protest in Berlin to denounce the violent response from the Egyptian army and police against the demonstrators in Cairo and other cities. The protest coincided with the visit of Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi to the German capital. The protesters carried large statues of ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, one with a gas mask and another with a bloodied bandage, under the placard, “Morsi: Stop violence against demonstrators”.

The original Nefertiti statue is in a museum just a few kilometres from the Chancellery, where Morsi met with Germany’s Angela Merkel.