The head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars has praised the statements of the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University in support of the struggles for freedom and social justice across the Middle East. Sheikh Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi said that the statements are what one would expect of a historic institution such as Al-Azhar.
"This is an institution which has carried the banner of Islam for a thousand years," said Dr Al-Qaradawi, "and we hope that Al-Azhar will regain its former status under the guidance of Grand Sheikh Dr Ahmed El-Tayeb."
The statements referred to by the IUM head stressed that it is important for Arab rulers to depend on "the consent of the people; the allocation of legislative, executive, and legal authorities; and measures for regulation and accountability measures". This, said Dr El-Tayeb, "so that the [Muslim] Ummah becomes the source of authorities and governance is based on justice."
According to the Grand Sheikh, he made his statements following the success of the Azhar Document issued earlier this year to give guidance on internal Egyptian issues post-Mubarak regime. "After the document was well-received," he said, "we issued further support for the whole Arab region." Dr El-Tayeb emphasised the importance of acknowledging the rights of national, popular and peaceful opposition in line with what was acknowledged by Islamic Shari'ah as well as international laws.
In the statement, scholars at Al-Azhar and Egyptian intellectuals expressed their "support for the will of the Arab people for reform and development, and their right to change their societies for the better, free from sectarian and ethnic strife and in line with constitutional principles and Islamic Law." They called on the Arab regimes to respect their peoples' aspirations and ambitions, and to work toward economic reform and democratisation in order for the whole region to move forward, taking full consideration of scientific and technological developments.