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Cairo University sacks professors accused of attending Brotherhood conference

Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt [Upyernoz/Flickr]
University in Cairo, Egypt [Upyernoz/Flickr]

Cairo University has announced the dismissal of four professors after claims that they attended a conference held by the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany, Quds Press reported on Monday. The four were named as Professors Ahmed Helmi Mahmoud, Ahmed Fathi Darwish, Ismail Abdel Shafi and Amro Mahmoud. All deny the allegation and stress that they have no links with the movement.

According to Abdel Shafi, he went to Germany in July to take part in a science conference. This, he insisted, was with the consent of the then University Chancellor Dr Jaber Nassar. The conference was organised by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which promotes academic cooperation between top scientists and scholars from Germany and abroad. The foundation, he added, has an internationally-respected reputation.

Nevertheless, the new Chancellor of Cairo University, Mohamed Othman Al-Khasht, dismissed the four academics following remarks that he will purge the university of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Read: Egypt's Al-Azhar University denies appointment of Muslim brotherhood teacher

Prior to the dismissals, the physician and left-wing activist Khalid Muntasir pondered in an article published in a local newspaper whether the acting dean of Cairo's Faculty of Science is a Muslim Brotherhood member. He claimed that the dean praised a student from the Islamic movement who was killed in Syria. The claim has been denied.

Observers suggest that there is a witch-hunt going on at the university which damages academic freedom.

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