CAIRO: Newly-appointed Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb announced that he will resign from his membership in the influential NDP policies committee, pending President Mubarak’s approval, less than two weeks after telling the press that there was no contradiction between being Sheikh of Al-Azhar and belonging to the ruling party.
However, he pointed out that his decision was not spurred by public pressure, but because the requirements of his new position demanded full-time engagement.
Al-Tayeb faced severe criticism when he first announced that he will remain in the NDP, which pundits saying that this was incompatible with his religious office and its independence.
Independent daily Al-Dostour nevertheless reported that his decision was the result of several “requests made by powerful forces” within the ruling party who were concerned about a possible “clash” between his NDP membership and the government policy of separating politics and religion.
“He’s free to do what he wants,” Fawzy El Zefzaf, head of Religious Dialogue Committee at Al-Azhar, told Daily News Egypt.
He added: “It’s a personal matter, no one else should comment on the issue.”