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Al-Azhar rewrites curricula

Based on recommendations by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Al-Azhar University in Cairo is taking steps toward updating the religious discourse it teaches to its students through revising curricula and minimizing references to distorted concepts of jihad and extremism.
An Al-Azhar Sheikh, explains some papers in the courtyard of Al-Azhar adminstrative building, in Cairo September 10, 2012. A proposal by ultraconservative Salafis to give Egypt's main Islamic institution the final say on whether the law of the land adheres to Islamic law threatens to bring the already painfully slow process of drafting the new constitution to a grinding halt. The proposal would give the revered Al-Azhar power similar to a supreme court by making it the arbiter of whether a law conforms with
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CAIRO — In an interview with Al-Monitor in his office, Al-Azhar University President Abdul Hai Azab revealed the steps Al-Azhar is taking to implement Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's recommendations to update religious discourse.

The process starts with reviewing Al-Azhar’s curricula. Sisi had recommended in July 2014 that concepts of militancy be removed from Al-Azhar curricula and a number of religious books be confiscated, besides setting up advocacy groups targeting youth centers to confront the ideas of extremist groups. Azab is still fighting to strike lessons on slavery and jizya tax (the required per capita tax on non-Muslims under Islamic law) from textbooks. Jizya tax is being used by the Islamic State (IS) and other extremists to rob the people’s money. Azab said that Al-Azhar has nothing to do with spawning IS members who follow erroneous concepts of jihad, while the latter was historically legitimized in Islam to fend off attacks and not to be an act of hostility and aggression.

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