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Muslim institutions, scholars call on Al-Azhar to take action on Palestine

November 2, 2023 at 9:28 am

Egypt’s Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb delivers a speech in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019 [VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images]

Dozens of Muslim institutions, associations, jurisprudential academies and scholars have urged Egypt’s largest and oldest religious institution, Al-Azhar, to take a stance aimed at stopping the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, by using its influence in the Islamic world.

In a joint letter signed by 35 Islamic organisations and issued yesterday, the groups highlighted Israel’s bombing of Al-Azhar University in Gaza which is headed by Al-Azhar University.

“This is Gaza calling you and it is related to your position, for you are the symbol of the Al-Azhar sheikhdom, and the head of the scholars and religious scholars in Egypt,” the letter read.

The signatories pointed out that “Gaza is being choked by the Egyptian-Palestinian Rafah crossing” and urged the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayyib, to help open the crossing.

“O Your Excellency the Grand Imam, the Muslims are appealing to you, and they are waiting for a good stance from you after they heard the good words from you… a stance that ends with the opening of the [Rafah] crossing and the relief of the besieged Muslims, supported by the prayers of the believers, and the chivalry of the people of Upper Egypt,” the letter added.

The Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, said in a statement on 8 October, the day after Israel launched its bombing campaign on Gaza, that “the proud Palestinian people have restored our confidence, instilled spirit in us, and restored life to us after we thought it would never return.”

Al-Tayeb called on “the civilised world and the international community to look with reason and wisdom at the longest occupation in modern history; the occupation of Palestine by the Zionists.”

In its latest statement, issued yesterday, Al-Azhar condemned the massacre committed by the Israeli occupation forces in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, which resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of Palestinians; mostly children.

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