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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Muslim Brotherhood Moves to Further Radicalize Al-Azhar Imam Factory

Muslim Brotherhood Moves to Further Radicalize Al-Azhar Imam Factory

May 20, 2011

May 18, 2011 - San Francisco, CA - An article from the MB's English website archives indicates that despite claims to the contrary, the Muslim Brothers are rapidly taking steps to prepare the way for an Islamist, Shari'a compliant Egypt.

The pathway the MB has chosen is to bring Al-Azhar university, Egypt's 1,000 year old training ground for imams, under its control so that the institution can take the lead in further Islamizing the country's infrastructure through a renewed emphasis on Shari'a.

The MB views Al-Azhar as having fallen under Western influence, via the influence of the Mubarak government, their prescription is to change the method whereby the university's Grand Sheikh is selected. Until now, he had been appointed by the government, the suggested change is to have a committee of Shari'a scholars "elect" him, thus cementing the MB, Shari'a and Al-Azhar into a powerful triadic partnership.

"The Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Institute, Dr Ahmad el-Tayeb decided to form a specialized legal committee to begin amending Law 103 of 1961, regarding the reform of Al-Azhar, indicating that Al-Azhar University and its mosque, for many years, has been losing public credibility, as it is seen as little more than a mouthpiece for the Egyptian government....He also called for the establishment of a council of scholars and leaders in Islamic Shariah that would be responsible for electing the future Sheikh of Al- Azhar, instead of appointing him..." [source, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=28243&ref=search.php]

The importance of the Shari'a component in this move can't be underestimated. As Dr. Bernard Lewis stated in his 2007 [interestingly archived at the MB website] AEI sponsored Irving Kristol lecture.

Referring to the centrality of Islam and Shari'a in Muslim life, Mr. Lewis said, "Here I would remind you that we are dealing not only with a different religion but also with a different concept of what religion is about, referring especially to what Muslims call the shari`a, the holy law of Islam, covering a wide range of matters regarded as secular in the Christian world even during the medieval period, but certainly in what some call the post-Christian era of the Western world..."

Further defining the all-encompassing nature of Shari'a, Lewis states, "I mentioned earlier the important difference in what one means by religion. For Muslims, it covers a whole range of different things--marriage, divorce, and inheritance are the most obvious examples. Since antiquity in the Western world, the Christian world, these have been secular matters. The distinction of church and state, spiritual and temporal, lay and ecclesiastical is a Christian distinction which has no place in Islamic history and therefore is difficult to explain to Muslims, even in the present day. Until very recently they did not even have a vocabulary to express it..." [source, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=15399&ref=search.php]

As heretofore mentioned, the role of Al-Azhar university has been, for a millennium, to train Sunni imams. In the 20th century it became commonplace for American imams to be selected upon recommendations from abroad, often from the ilk of Al-Azhar graduates.

"...The next summer, Mr. Shata took a call from an imam in Brooklyn...The mosque was looking for a replacement, and Mr. Shata had come highly recommended by a professor at Al-Azhar...Most imams are recruited to American mosques on the recommendation of other imams or trusted scholars abroad..." [source, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/05/nyregion/05imam.html?ei=5070&en=47fa873301714b24&ex=1170046800&pagewanted=all]

To gauge the nature of Shata's brand of Islam, please refer to the following sermon entitled, "Why they hate Islam," during which he demonstrates Islam's triumphalism and casts the "battle" between believers and non-believers as one between good and evil.

"...Allah knows what you do not, and from that moment a battle waged on that persists till this very day between the message of prophet Mohammed, praise and peace be upon him, and those that deprecate its validity. Till judgment day this battle shall persist...whomever of you who converts away from the faith is a nonbeliever...and their punishment is the hellfire...this battle between good and evil is part of the balance of nature...it is part most importantly of the Sunnah of Allah..." [source, http://www.redashata.com/English/index.php?page=sermons Why They Hate Islam]

One can immediately grasp from the imam's exegesis, the Al-Azhar hard-line, Islam is intended to be the dominant world religion and the battle to establish it is a war of good versus evil that will be fought until "judgment day."

We suggest, that if the intended "reforms" at Al-Azhar proposed by the MB come to fruition, one of the effects down the line will be to further radicalize American imams, thereby hastening the effort to make the U.S. a shari'a compliant nation. That such a development would be detrimental in the extreme, to the maintenance of a republican form of government is axiomatic.

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