CAIRO: Dar al-Iftaa has responded to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s call for a “religious revolution” by launching a national project aiming to correct the image of Islam through social media, foreign visits, publications, and issuing fatwas that “suit the modern age,” Ibrahim Negm, advisor to the Grand Mufti said in Friday press statements.
“We should closely examine the situation in which we are. It does not make sense that the thought we sanctify pushes this entire nation to become a source of apprehension, danger, murder and destruction in the entire world,” Sisi said in a Thursday speech before Egypt’s top religious leaders on the occasion of the Birth of Prophet Mohamed.
“I am not saying the religion [itself]. I am saying this thought that has been sanctified; texts and ideas that have been sanctified for hundreds of years. And disagreeing with [these texts and thoughts] has become very difficult. To the extent that [this thought] makes an enemy of the whole world,” Sisi added.
Dar al-Iftaa, Egypt’s government-sponsored religious institution responsible for issuing fatwas and religious opinions, will work to achieve the “highest degree of effective communication” with Muslims in Egypt, Arab countries and the world, Negm said.
Established in 970, Al-Azhar is the most prestigious Sunni institution in the Islamic world.
Al-Azhar’s newly formed Monitor of Infedilizing Fatwas Dept., which responds to radical Islamists’ fatwas labeling other Muslims apostates, has already issued many articles slamming the “extremist opinions” of “non-specialized” sheikhs that receive the attention of a segment of Muslims.
“You cannot feel what [this thought] is when you are inside it. You have to get out of it, inspect it, and read it with a real enlightened thought. You need to take a strong stance. I am reiterating, we need a religious revolution,” Sisi said in his speech, prompting Al-Azhar scholars to applaud.
Dar al-Ifta’s Facebook page, launched in 2011, has garnered 1.1 million likes; the Monitor of Infedelizing Fatwas Dept., launched in June 2014, has 96,300 likes.
On Dec. 26, 2014 Dar al-Ifta launched an international campaign to introduce the “mercy” of the character of Prophet Mohamed. On Dec. 3, Egypt hosted an inter-faith conference to fight extremism. The conference was attended by 700 Islamic and Christian scholars from 120 states. It has also issued several publications refuting the Islamic State (IS) group’s ideology, especially in terms of the treatment of women and slavery.
It has also intensified its efforts to reach out to Muslims who do not speak Arabic by launching a Facebook page in English, which has 56,050 likes thus far. Dar al-Iftaa has also begun offering Islamic studies’ classes and publications in English to curb the recruitment of foreign Muslims by terrorist organizations.