In Egypt, a Christian medical student was accepted into the residency program at Al-Azhar University, a highly esteemed Islamic Institution, after discrimination controversy just months earlier. This decision is a positive change for Christians because Al-Azhar University previously had not accepted Christians openly because of the Islamic curriculum and the requirement to memorize the Quran. Al-Azhar University’s Dean of the Faculty of Denistry in Assiut, Khalid Siddiq made the decision to allow Abanoub Guirguis Naeem, a Christian, enroll in the university’s residency program.
06/05/2017 Egypt (Christian Daily) – Al-Azhar University made a landmark decision by allowing a Christian medical student to enroll with it and complete his residency after the Islam authority was embroiled in a religious discrimination issue last month.
On May 17, Al-Azhar University’s Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry in Assiut, Khalid Siddiq, allowed Christian medical student Abanoub Guirguis Naeem to enroll for is residency training program. The landmark decision came almost three months after parliament member Mohammad Abu Hamid urged all citizens to enjoy the same right to study secular subjects at the university, Al-Monitor detailed.
An Al-Azhar graduate who only identified himself as T. Y. told the publication that the school considers a student’s grades, place of residence, and if there was an agreement between his alma mater and Al-Azhar regarding the medical residency. He also suggested that the decision might have stemmed from the university’s desire to show to the public that it welcomes all Egyptian citizens without violating its regulations for Islamic curriculum.
Abbas Shoman, a representative for Al-Azhar, released a press statement on March 11 that explained that only Muslims can meet their conditions for enrollment. He said their students are required to memorize the Quran, and they can neither exempt Christians from these subjects nor remove the Islamic modules.
Al-Azhar offers medical and engineering courses, among several others, and the religious curriculum is included even in the school’s scientific departments. The subjects include Islamic jurisprudence, the Quran, Sharia and hadith, Al-Monitor noted in a previous report.