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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" class="city">Germany for surgery.
However, Sheikh Mahmoud Mogahed, member of the PA's religious committee, told Daily News Egypt" class="city">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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