By Nada Nader
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has reasserted the need of religious institutions to revolutionise religious discourse, in a recorded interview with Holy Quran radio station.
The Holy Quran radio station is one of the main religious radio outlets in the country, primarily administrated by the Al-Azhar institution and Dar Al-Ifta.
Al-Sisi celebrated the radio station’s anniversary, pointing out “its unique and vital role in airing of Quran’s verses and its Islamic true explanation,” according to presidential statement.
Since being sworn-in as president, Al-Sisi has adopted the initiative calling for Islamic institutions in the country, including Al-Azhar, the Ministry of Religious Endowments, and Dar Al-Ifta, to “renew religious discourse”.
During the interview, he said the Islamic world needs a revolution for Islam not against it, to outline that terrorists and extremists are not related to Islam, and prevent further worldwide distortion of the religion.
He also praised the role of Egypt’s moderate clerics in spreading tolerant Islamic discourse.
The interview was recorded on Sunday to be aired on Wednesday on the station.
Lately, Egypt has depended diplomatically on its three major Sunni Muslim institutions to reverse the spread of Islamic militancy. The country has also taken the stance on the need to support the state and the current government or by addressing radical opponents of the government, such as the so-called “takfiri” elements.
Egypt’s Ministry of Religious Endowments has heavily condemned the actions of radical Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria, among security and regional concerns over the expansion by the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), which rebranded itself ‘Islamic State’ establishing a self-proclaimed ‘Islamic Caliphate’.
The institutions have also attacked the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, its affiliated preachers, and its members.
However, Al-Sisi’s call to renew religious discourse has sparked some controversy, especially among ultra-conservative Salafi preachers and groups. The calls have been described as an “attempt to change the Islamic heritage”.