Category Archives: Egypt

Al-Azhar University: In the Heart of Muslim Belief

Al-Azhar University in Cairo: In the Heart of Muslim BeliefIf an extended conflict between the West and Islam is to be avoided, who should the West speak to in the Muslim world? Nobody officially. But inofficially, the ancient and respected al-Azhar University in Cairo would be a good place to start.

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Filed under Egypt, History, Islamic Scholarship, Middle East & Muslim World

Hamas Recognizes Israel

Egypt Says Hamas Recongises Existence of Israel
21 Jan 2006 10:57:56 GMT
Source: Reuters
CAIRO, Jan 21 (Reuters) – The Palestinian militant group Hamas recognises the existence of Israel and will go along with negotiations with the Jewish state, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in an interview published on Saturday.

Aboul Gheit, whose government has had close contacts with Hamas and other Palestinian militants over the past year, also said that joining the political process would lead to fundamental changes in the thinking of Hamas.

Hamas, which advocates replacing Israel with an Islamic state throughout historical Palestine, is taking part in Palestinian parliamentary elections for the first time on Jan. 25. It poses a strong challenge to the ruling Fatah movement.

Ed: Full article below

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Filed under Egypt, Islamism, Palestine

Amr Khaled: Islam’s Billy Graham

Amr Khaled: Islam’s Billy Graham

More popular than Oprah Winfrey, the world’s first Islamic television evangelist commands an army of millions of followers

David Hardaker reports from Cairo
Published: 04 January 2006

In a tiny house on the West Bank a young Palestinian woman is jogging the length of her hallway and back. Again and again. The pain becomes unbearable. But she keeps going. Eventually she completes two thousand laps. Why? Because Amr said so. He called on young Muslims to get fit, and the woman could find no other safe place to run.In the choking grime of Cairo, another young woman is tending to a small tomato vine, struggling into life atop a 10-storey city block. Why? Because Amr wants his young followers to see something grow. It will provide hope – and maybe a small income – in a part of the world where both are in short supply. The greening of rooftops in the filth and decay of this Arab mega city is a story being repeated again and again throughout the Arab world.

It is a powerful metaphor for the work of a religious and marketing phenomenon called Amr Khaled, who is trying to pump oxygen into the arid lives of Muslim youth. Amr (rhymes with “charmer”) Khaled is the Arab world’s first Islamic tele-evangelist, a digital age Billy Graham who has fashioned himself into the anti-Bin Laden, using the barrier-breaking power of satellite TV and the internet to turn around a generation of lost Muslim youth.

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Filed under Egypt, Islam, Islam & Modernity, Middle East & Muslim World

No Haven for Scrooge in Cairo

The encroachment of Christmas in Cairo? Dan Murphy shares his experience in this piece in the CSM. It is both eye-opening and rather amusing. Though this should come as no surprise to those living and travelling in the Muslim world. In Islamabad, Pakistan the local McDonald’s was celebrating Halloween a couple years ago and Valentine’s Day is quickly becoming the norm nationwide. To quote Faraz Rabbani: “Merry Merry.”

For many years I’ve taken pleasure in living in Muslim lands free from the trappings of Christmas commerce and the unholy trinity: Carols, mistletoe, and, most daunting, Santa’s lap.

That’s why I was startled to hear strains of “We wish you a merry Christmas,” coming in my Cairo bedroom window last week.

Is nothing sacred? Egypt is 94 percent Muslim. This is the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood, the modern Islamist movement that ultimately seeks to make the Koran the constitution of the world.

This is home to the great scholars of Al Azhar University, and the chauvinist ideology of Sayyid Qutb. Yet, remarkably, there seems to be more controversy in Washington over the devoutly Christian President Bush sending out a million cards wishing friends and supporters a joyous “Holiday Season,” than there is over the spread of all things Christmas here in Cairo.

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Filed under Culture, Egypt, Miscellaneous

The Mufti of Egypt

The Egyptian publication Al-Ahram profiled Ali Gomaa in its 2001 issue. Though now four years old the article is informative. The article leaves a bit to be desired but nonetheless offers an interesting portrait of one of the most influential modern Islamic scholars and now the Mufti of Egypt.
There is — naturally — a certain aura about Al- Azhar, and a certain majesty. It was a Thursday morning when we went and were guided quite quickly to “Doctor Ali’s lesson.” It could have been a scene out of the middle ages. Al-Maqrizi could have written this. Across the spotless white marble we entered the doctor’s riwaq (gallery). The lesson was already underway, Sheikh Ali Gomaa sitting with his legs up, knees bent, on a large traditional chair, his back to a wall and his students around him in a semi-circle, a halaqa, the men closer to him, the women discreetly at the back. They came in different colours, the students, in different costumes, from various corners of the globe, extremely young and middle-aged, traditionally-dressed, Westernised, you name it. We took our places amongst the women, at the back — of course. All around the riwaq are bookcases laden with hard-backed volumes of the canons of jurisprudence. This was a lesson in economics, out of Al-Suyuti.

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Filed under Egypt, Islamic Scholarship

Shari’a College at Al-Azhar

The First Year Curriculum in the Shari’a College at Al-Azhar University 
1. Fiqh Al-Malaki
2. Fiqh Al-Muqaran
3. Tarikh Al-Tashri’i
4. ‘Ulum Al-Hadith
5. Mustalah Al-Hadith
6. Tafsir Al-Qur’an (Ahkam Al-Quran)
7. English Language
8. Nahu wa Sarf

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Filed under Egypt, Islam, Middle East & Muslim World

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Gains Support

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – The banned Muslim Brotherhood locked up about one-quarter of the parliamentary seats open in two rounds of balloting, according to results released Monday – an unexpectedly strong sign of Egypt’s increasing turn toward conservative Islam and dissatisfaction with the U.S.-allied regime.

Al-Borai, the rights advocate, said the Brotherhood’s powerful showing may help the democratic process – by forcing the Mubarak regime to include more liberal and secular elements of the opposition as a bulwark against Islamic fundamentalism.

“Even if the ruling party had put an angel from heaven on the ballot, voters would hate him and vote against him,” al-Boari said. “To the Egyptian people, the NDP is Mubarak and his old guard, and voters are bored with them.”

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Filed under Egypt, Islamism