Egypt: Presidential Decree to Appoint 4 New Senior Al-Azhar Scholars

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met on Monday with Austrian Parliamentary Speaker Wolfgang Sobotka (Egyptian presidency)
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met on Monday with Austrian Parliamentary Speaker Wolfgang Sobotka (Egyptian presidency)
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Egypt: Presidential Decree to Appoint 4 New Senior Al-Azhar Scholars

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met on Monday with Austrian Parliamentary Speaker Wolfgang Sobotka (Egyptian presidency)
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met on Monday with Austrian Parliamentary Speaker Wolfgang Sobotka (Egyptian presidency)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi issued a decree appointing four new members to al-Azhar Council of Senior Scholars.

Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb announced a “special program to train foreign imams” saying they are being trained to deal with terrorist rhetoric.

The Council of Senior Scholars was restructured in 2012 to carry out several specializations, most prominently the representation of jurisprudential and legal opinion on the global Muslim issues.

The Council consists of almost forty members of the greatest scholars of Al-Azhar from all the four schools of jurisprudence.

The presidential decree included: professor of Criticism and Literature at the Faculty of Arabic Language al-Said al-Sayed Obada, professor of Interpretation at the Faculty of Fundamentals of Religion and Advocacy Hassan Ahmed Gabr, professor of Rhetoric and Criticism at al-Azhar’s Faculty of Islamic and Arabic Studies for Girls Mahmoud Tawfik, and professor of Emerging Comparative Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Sharia and Law Mohamed Hosni.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Tayyib received President of the Austrian National Council Wolfgang Sobotka and the accompanying delegation in Cairo.

Tayyib affirmed that Azhar is responsible for spreading the values of tolerance, dialogue, and acceptance, adding that the institution always communicates with all major religious institutions in Europe.

He stressed that the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” signed with Pope Francis is a milestone in relations between Christianity and Islam but also represents a message with a strong impact on the international scene.

The Document was signed in UAE in February last year and adopted “a culture of dialogue as the path, cooperation as the code of conduct, and reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.”

They also “resolutely declare that religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood. These tragic realities are the consequence of a deviation from religious teachings. They result from political manipulation of religions and interpretations made by religious groups.”

Sobotka praised Egypt's effective role in combating terrorism, extremism, and illegal migration, adding that Egypt is a pillar of stability in the Middle East and a beacon for moderate Islam.

He called on the international community to stand together to eliminate these phenomena. He expressed Austria’s keenness to benefit from the Egyptian experience in reforming religious discourse and from the experience of al-Azhar.



WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
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WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing "catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions".

"A significant proportion of Gaza's population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food."

Tedros said there were more than 8,000 children under five years old who have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition.

"However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilization centers for severely malnourished patients can operate," he added.

"Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children."

The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when fighters led by Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's response has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan health ministry, displaced most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million and caused widespread hunger and destruction.

A UN inquiry on Wednesday found that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes early in the Gaza war, and that Israel's actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

Tedros also highlighted a separate health crisis in the West Bank, where he said healthcare had been targeted by nearly 500 attacks since Oct. 7.

"While the world's focus has been on Gaza, there is also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, where attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement of people are obstructing access to health services," he said.

"In most areas of the West Bank, clinics are only operating two days a week and hospitals are operating at about 70% capacity."