Al-Azhar agrees with churches leaders to maintain Egypt’s Islamic identity in constitution

Al-Azhar, the highest religious institution in the Sunni Muslim world, said it had agreed with Egyptian churches to maintain Egypt’s identity as an Islamic state as part of ongoing amendments to the Egyptian constitution, according to a statement released late Saturday.
 
Al-Azhar said it was in agreement with the three Egyptian churches (Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical) to achieve a consensual constitution that “emphasizes Egypt’s Islamic identity and prioritizes national reconciliation above partisan and political considerations.”
 
The statement said the meeting held at the office of the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, did not, however, tackle changes proposed for the constitution. The statement said discussions on the issue are the responsibility of the constitution-writing committee.
 
The meeting was attended by al-Azhar leaders, including Egypt’s Mufti, Shawqy Abdel Karim. Representatives of Egyptian churches at the 50-member constitutional committee included: Father Paula (Orthodox  Archbishop of Tanta), Father Antonious of the Catholic Church, and Safwat al-Bayyady of the Evangelical Church.