Asharq al-Awsat: Senior Brotherhood member might be next mufti

Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau member Abdel Rahman al-Bar is one of the candidates nominated by Al-Azhar's Senior Scholars Authority to replace Ali Gomaa, Egypt's grand mufti who has turned sixty-one, London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

The newspaper quoted sources as saying that Bar, a professor at Azhar University who is also nicknamed "the Muslim Brotherhood Mufti," is among the three top names that will be suggested by the authority for President Mohamed Morsy to choose from.

Other candidates being considered for the same post are Saad Eddin al-Helaly and Mohamed al-Gebali, both professors at Al-Azhar University. The paper claimed that their chances of being selected were not strong.

Gomaa's term as grand mufti ends in March. His term was renewed for one year after he turned 60 by the then-ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in February 2012.

Sources told the paper that the condition stating that the Mufti cannot belong to "any political movement, faction or group" may weaken Bar's chances of getting the job.

The grand mufti in Egypt was created as a position in 1895, and since then Egypt has had 18. The grand mufti is one of the main sources of religious edicts and decisions for Sunni Muslims in Egypt and throughout the world.

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