Rift widens between Egyptian president, Al-Azhar

Tensions have emerged in the relationship between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Al-Azhar, with the former promoting reform that the latter finds unacceptable, rejecting governmental influence on religion.
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 Shahira Amin for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 26

Iran pulls Palestine from the margins

The Iranian leadership turns out in force for Palestinian conference; Turkey’s victory in al-Bab may be a prelude to a showdown with the Syrian Kurds.
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on February 26

Why Iran wants Palestine back on regional agenda

Iran hosts a conference in support of the Palestinian intifada as it seeks to put the Palestinian cause back at the top of its regional agenda.
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 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on February 24

Female preachers officially find their way to Egypt's pulpits

In a groundbreaking move, Egypt's Ministry of Religious Endowments has appointed 144 female preachers to deliver sermons to all-female congregations.
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 Amira Sayed Ahmed for Al-Monitor on February 24

'Spying imams' spark new crisis between Europe, Turkey

Because of accusations of espionage, Turkey had to recall religious attaches and official imams from several European countries.
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 Zülfikar Doğan on February 24

Is Iran-Turkey tension intentional?

Turkey, while seeking to access Gulf funds and boost its defense industry exports, has risked economic relations with Iran — but the risk could also hold opportunity.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on February 24

Shiite political differences widen gap between Najaf, Qom

The political differences between Qom and Najaf clerics indicate a sharp conflict between the two schools after Ali al-Sistani, whose death will create a broad vacuum in the Shiite scene.
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 Ali Mamouri on February 26

Egyptian fish return to Gaza's markets

Tons of fish entered the Gaza Strip through the crossings and tunnels from Egypt, allowing medium- and low-income consumers to buy species that are usually consumed by the rich, as they are so scarce in the Gaza sea.
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 Moath al-Amoudi for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 26

What a Palestine-Jordan confederation might look like

US President Donald Trump’s inclination toward a regional peace process has driven the Palestinians to create a new formula for a confederation with Jordan.
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 Uri Savir on February 26

Has Hamas completely forgotten Saudi Arabia?

The appointment of Yahya Sinwar as Hamas’ head in the Gaza Strip undermines the rapprochement between the movement and Saudi Arabia, while drawing Iran closer to the Palestinian resistance.
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 Fahd al-Otaibi on February 26

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