A Constituent Assembly member submitted a proposal Saturday for the article on Al-Azhar to include provisions for electing the Grand sheikh and determining an age for his retirement, which was rejected by Al-Azhar’s representatives within the assembly.
Article 4 of the draft put forward by the assembly states that Al-Azhar is an independent institution, whose Grand Sheik is irremovable, but refers the selection of the Sheikh to the law.
Taher Abdel Mohsen, deputy secretary of the Regulators and Independent Bodies Committee, has submitted a proposal to the committee with a chapter in the constitution dedicated to regulating the work of Al-Azhar.
The chapter consists of five articles outlining the selection of members of the senior scholars’ board, their number and method of election.
According to the proposal, the board would elect the Grand sheikh, who may not be dismissed, but his term would expire at the age of 75.
Abdul Mohsen told Al-Masry Al-Youm that “it is not acceptable that the positions after the revolution, and in the constitution, be eternal and their holders cannot be dismissed. A retirement age shall be determined, or a method of election that does not exceed four years and is renewed only once.”
He added that he has readied proposal to be put to a vote in the General Committee of the assembly, after Al-Azhar representatives rejected it.
Younis Makhyoun, an assembly member and senior member of the Salafi-oriented Nour Party, said that the party objected to not determining the duration of the term of the grand sheikh of Al-Azhar, adding that the method of choosing the senior scholars board and electing the grand sheikh must be determined.
Mohamed al-Sawy, Assembly spokesperson and a member at the Freedoms Committee, rejected the idea that a person “stays in office for a lifetime,” and demanded “[granting the] Al-Azhar sheikh immunity and independence, and [determining] his four years as his term that can be renewed once.”
“He is not better than the president of the republic,” Sawy added, demanding that the grand sheikh be elected by the senior scholars.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm