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Mubarak accepts Azhar Sheikh's resignation from NDP
Published in Daily News Egypt on 12 - 04 - 2010

CAIRO: On Sunday, President Hosni Mubarak approved the resignation of Al-Azhar's Grand Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb from the National Democratic Party's influential policies committee.
In an unexpected move, El-Tayeb announced on March 26 that he will resign from his NDP post pending presidential approval.
This decision contradicts a statement made by the Grand Sheikh on his first day in office when he denied any "contradiction whatsoever between [his] position as Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar and membership in the National Democratic Party.
El-Tayeb's attitude had spurred harsh criticism from both media and society, seeing his political engagement as a threat to the independence of his religious office.
Al-Dostour newspaper reported that El-Tayeb's resignation was a response to a request within the NDP, and that the resignation was only delayed because of President Mubarak's trip to Germany for surgery.
However, Sheikh Mahmoud Mogahed, member of the PA's religious committee, told Daily News Egypt that, "the reason behind the resignation is the public demand, the people want a neutral Grand Sheikh.
He further added: "I support this decision.
The position of the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar was created in the 17th century by the Ottomans. In 1961, Gamal Abdel Nasser enacted a law stipulating that the the government would select the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar.
This decision partly undermined the autonomy of the Grand Sheikh, which was previously selected by a committee of Al-Azhar scholars.

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