Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why Has Al-Tayib Changed His Mind?

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayib is a heavyweight Sunni Muslim religious scholar, theologian and decisor in matters of faith. He's at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, has been the object of a recent Benetton publicity campaign featuring a kiss with the Pope.


Warns Jews over 'Judaizing' Jerusalem | Says Jerusalem was built by "Arab Jebusites."

As Ma'an reports:

The sheikh of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the top religious authority of Sunni Muslims, warned Israel Sunday not to continue the "Judaization" of Jerusalem – that is, not to continue settling Jews in its capital.

Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayib held a news conference in which he declared that the Judaization of "Al Quds" (as Muslims know Jerusalem) and harming the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound are a red line and would lead to the annihilation of "the Zionist entity in Palestine" – i.e., Israel.

Historical facts clearly point to Jerusalem being an Arab city that was built by the "Arab Jebusites," he added.  He claimed that Zionists who lean on imperialist Western forces in Judaizing Jerusalem endanger their own future.

However, earlier this year, he had another opinion:

In an article published June 23, 2011 in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, its head, Al-Azhar Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayeb, expressed remarkably tolerant views towards non-Muslims, especially Christians and Jews. He wrote: "A Muslim cannot imagine all of mankind sharing a single creed or turning to a single religion - even if this religion is Islam. As long as this remains the case, the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims [must be] one of mutual recognition. The Islamic world has absorbed all the religions of the known world..."

In the article, Al-Tayeb distinguishes between the fundamentals of the faith on the one hand and religious laws (shari'a) on the other. He states that the three Abrahamic religions - Islam, Judaism, and Christianity - share the fundamentals of faith, ritual, and morality, and differ only in their specific shari'a laws...In saying this, he not only legitimizes Judaism and Christianity, but also implicitly sanctions the differences in shari'a between the Sunna and Shi'a, and among the various Sunni religious schools.

So, what has happened?

Has he changed his mind?

Was he writing falsely then?

If he changed his mind, why?

Is Islamic fundamentalism resurgent in Egypt and he is watching out for his own personal interests?

Is Ma'an faithfully reporting his words - or not?


No comments: