Al-Azhar, Egypt’s primary Sunni religious institution, has condemned, in a Saturday statement, the partial demolition of Iran’s alleged only Sunni mosque.
The organisation, which has been campaigning against Shi’ism, said the mosque in Tehran started to be demolished last Wednesday. Al-Azhar objected to the incident, describing it as “opposed to the Sharia law, morals, and civilized values”.
It added that “these behaviours incite division and sectarianism between followers of the same religion. It also adds to the fundamentalist ideology”.
Al-Azhar called upon Iranian officials to comment on the incident of demolishing the mosque, “which angered the Islamic world”.
Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayyeb previously warned on his daily TV programme against allegedly orchestrated campaigns targeting Egyptian Muslim youth, to transfer their religious doctrine from Sunni to Shi’a Islam.
He said the main cause of the campaign launched by Al-Azhar against the Shi’as is the frequent attacks by Shi’a groups, which developed into interference in the political affairs of the country. He added that it is therefore better to protect youth from believing in this doctrine.
There is no clear indication of the number of Shi’as in Egypt, but unofficial sources claim the community numbers 18,000.
The Ministry of Religious Endowments, alongside Al-Azhar University, has undertaken several acts towards those who allegedly supported Shi’a or Sunni extremists, or the banned Muslim Brotherhood.