Al-Azhar withdrew its only representative on Thursday from the constituent assembly that will draft the constitution.
As the influential religious institution removed its delegate, Nasr Farid Wasel, a former State Mufti, it expressed reservations over the assembly make-up and described its representation as "inappropriate."
Members of the Islamic Research Academy decided in a meeting headed by Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb to excuse itself from participating, saying that the assembly did "not [represent] Azhar appropriately with a proportion commensurate with its historic role."
The members said in a statement following the meeting that "the inappropriate representation of Al-Azhar in the constituent assembly marginalizes the historic role of Al-Azhar in an important national event."
Moety Bayoumy, member of the Islamic Research Academy, told Al-Masry Al-Youm, "It should not be at all that one trend dominates the constituent assembly as it violates the principles of Islam.
"I have said from the beginning that the constituent assembly is invalid for so many reasons, because it seemed that the so-called Islamists dominated," he said. "I say to these Islamists, you represent certain people, because the true Islamists who understand Islam, and its position on the civil state, seek directly by virtue of their culture and their knowledge of Islam to include all the effective elements in the Muslim community to develop a new constitution. This is the true Islamic society."
Independent daily Al-Shorouk reported Wednesday that the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church is also considering withdrawing its representatives from the constituent assembly. The church had nominated adviser Nabil Merham and lawyer Magdy Shenouda as their representatives in the founding committee of the constitution.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm