Egypt’s al-Azhar chief urges education reform to control spread of religious radicalism
The head of Egypt’s prominent al-Azhar University for religious studies has called for education reforms across Muslim nations in an effort to control the spread of religious radicalism.
Speaking Sunday at a counterterrorism conference in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca, al-Azhar University’s Grand Imam Ahmad al-Tayib blamed the ongoing unrest in the Middle East on a conspiracy by “the new global colonialism allied to world Zionism,” insisting that the scheme has been exploiting tensions in the conflict-hit countries of Iraq, Syria and Libya.
He further urged the implementation of education reforms as part of the efforts to deal with the growing extremism in a number of Muslim countries.
Tayib underlined that extremism is the result of deviant interpretations of Islamic resources, such as the Holy Qur’an and narrations from teaching of Islam’s prophet.
He noted that “there has been a historical accumulation of excessive trends,” which he said have led some people to embrace a misguided version of Islam.
“The only hope for the Muslim nation to recover unity is to tackle in our schools and universities this tendency to accuse Muslims of being unbelievers,” Tayib added.
Meanwhile, at the opening day of the conference a statement from Saudi King Salman was read to the audience by the governor of Mecca, in which he called for “an efficient strategy to combat terrorism.”
This is while the US-backed Saudi Kingdom is widely believed to be supporting and financing the extremist terror groups such as the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and the ISIL Takfiri terrorists, which have been waging a major terror campaign across Syria and Iraq.
The three-day conference, organized by the Muslim World League group of non-government organizations, has invited senior clerics from across the Muslim world in a bid to discuss ways to combat extremism.