As Egypt’s security remains permeable to attacks from hardline militants, Al-Azhar (the foremost religious institution for Sunni Muslims) is attempting to dispel assumptions that it is fostering religious extremism. Militants have attacked security personnel and Christians alike and many critics contend that religious discourse within educational institutions are partly responsible. Indoctrination and extremism seem to be the lead topics on the syllabus in the eyes of many. Al-Azhar denies these accusations and has set up booths in the metro stations to counter religious extremism. The booths have received mixed reviews from metro riders, with critics contending that money should be better spent on fighting corruption and oppression.
07/24/2017 Egypt (ABC News) – Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s foremost religious institution, is setting up booths in Cairo metro stations to provide religious edicts to commuters in the latest bid to dispel religious misconceptions seen as fostering Islamic militancy in the country, which is targeting mainly security personnel and Copts.
The move comes after militants killed at least 28 security personnel in two separate attacks earlier in July in the restive Sinai peninsula and near some of Egypt’s most famous pyramids outside of Cairo, and more than 100 Coptic Christians since December in four separate attacks.
Al-Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy said in a statement issued Thursday that it launched the project as part of the institution’s efforts to correct misconceptions and misinterpretations of religious texts.
Photos of Al-Azhar clerics manning one of the booths and engaging with commuters circulated on social media networks. One booth has so far been set up at a central metro station with plans for further expansion.