Egypt: staff protest over president appointment

Row over leadership changes at Al-Azhar University

May 16, 2017

Faculty at a leading Islamic university in Egypt have staged a protest at the decision to overlook the vice-president for the interim presidency following the sacking of the former incumbent.

Mohamed Mahmoud Abu Hashim, deputy president of Al-Azhar University, asserted that his seniority had been overlooked after Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb announced the appointment of Mohamed al-Mahrasawy, dean of the faculty of Arabic language, as acting president of the university, replacing Ahmed Hosni.

Dr Hosni had been dismissed over the weekend of 6 May for his comments describing Islamic researcher Islam al-Behairy as an “apostate”.

Professors and other members of the teaching staff in solidarity with Professor Abu Hashim who said that he was the eldest deputy of Dr Hosni, and the law states that the eldest deputy is designated the acting presidency, the Egypt Independent reported. He added that he would resort to the judiciary if his complaint was not addressed.

At a press conference, prior to the protest, faculty said they had great respect for Dr al-Tayyeb, but that Professor Abu Hashim should have been made acting president because of his seniority.

However, the paper reported that sources from the university said it was not true that Dr al-Tayyeb overlooked Professor Abu Hashim in appointing another acting president and that the appointment is legal.

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