CAIRO: Al-Azhar University resumed on Saturday the second semester after it had been postponed three times successively for security reasons.
However, security forces were not present outside the campus in contrast to a decision to deploy Ministry of Interior security forces per a protocol signed between the ministry and the university.
Youm7 reported that security forces were stationing in places near the university in anticipation of any riots; not outside the campus to avoid frictions with students.
Ahmed el-Husainy, the deputy head of Al-Azhar University, told The Cairo Post Saturday that the Agriculture, Commerce and Engineering Faculties had been repaired during the last period.
Husainy added that the university assigned additional administrative security and opened only two gates; one for entering and another for exiting.
Concerning detained students, Husainy said Al-Azhar University formed a committee in cooperation with the Attorney General to release arrested students who are not proven guilty.
“About 270 students have been released recently, “ he added.
He said demonstrations were forbidden inside the campus according to a decision taken by the university administration.
“Students who get involved in violence will be dismissed without being referred to the disciplinary board, ” he added.
Regarding the newly installed campus walls, he said the walls were built inside the campus to prevent expelled students from entering the university, as some of them were involved in on-campus demonstrations during the first semester.
On Saturday morning, a protest organized by dozens of female students marched around the Faculty of Islamic Studies to demand the release of detained colleagues who are accused of inciting riots inside the university campus, according to Youm7.
Osama el-Abd, the head of Al-Azhar University, held a conference in Nasr City to brief the media about the course of events at the university during the first day of the second semester.
The first academic day started peacefully, Abd said at the conference.
Abd added that the university canceled Saturday as a day off for staff and students because “most of colleges will operate on that day, leaving Friday the only day off in the week.”
The university will not allow the spread of “violence and chaos” inside the campus, he added.
He said the university’s current administrative security “is totally different from the first semester,” adding that the first lecture would be devoted to “teach students on how to deal with their professors and to learn from Prophet Muhammad’s practices.”
He said 500 students were denied university campus housing and some professors were referred to investigation.
Dozens of Al-Azhar students face trials on charges of rioting. Around 26 students were sentenced in January to two years and a half in prison for protesting inside the university.
The second semester year had started last week in all Egyptian universities; except for Al-Azhar University which started today.