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Al-Azhar refuses to consider the Islamic State an apostate

Al-Azhar's refusal to declare the Islamic State an apostate has triggered scrutiny at the growing Salafist faction in the institution.
Muslims conduct taraweeh prayers as they gather specially for Lailat al-Qadr, at Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo July 24, 2014. Lailat al-Qadr (Night of Decree) is the night the first verses of the Koran were revealed to the Prophet Mohammad, but it is believed to have taken place on the 27th night of the Muslim month of Ramadan, according to most Muslim historians.  REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih  (EGYPT - Tags: RELIGION) - RTR401P9
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Egypt’s Al-Azhar issued a statement Dec. 11, 2014, refusing to declare the Islamic State (IS) apostates. “No believer can be declared an apostate, regardless of his sins,” it read. Al-Azhar's statement came as a Nigerian mufti seemingly declared IS apostates at a Dec. 4, 2014, Al-Azhar conference. Al-Azhar stated that various media outlets had misrepresented the mufti's speech.

The sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, repeated his rejection of declaring IS apostates on Jan. 1, during a meeting with editors-in-chief of Egyptian newspapers. This sparked criticism from a number of religious, political and media parties, especially since Al-Azhar could have renounced the Nigerian mufti’s statement on IS without addressing the issue of whether or not Al-Azhar considers the group apostates.

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