Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Egypt's President again calls for reforms to Islam

CARIO: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who came to power after a bloody crackdown on political Islamists, called Wednesday for religious reforms to counter extremists in a speech to Muslim clerics.

Sisi has often warned that Islamist extremism presents a vital threat to the region, which he suggested lags in development and women's rights.

Not enough work, he added, has been done to confront the ideology of extremists who have roiled the region and are waging a bloody insurgency in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

"We are on a mission, during one of the most difficult periods not only for Egypt, but for Egypt and all Arab and Muslim states," Sisi said in the televised speech.

"Are we the most knowledgeable of nations?" he asked, referring to Muslim countries. "Are we the most tolerant nation? Are we the nation that most respects women?"

"If you found that the flaw was only in Egypt, we'd say OK. But I wonder, in how many of these 50 (Muslim) countries is this situation present?" he asked.

Early Islamic scholars, he said, confronted sayings and traditions wrongly attributed to the Muslim prophet Mohamed. Islamic law is partly based on Mohamed's sayings that are deemed authentic.

"We can perform the same role, but regarding other things," Sisi said, without elaborating.

"I fear that we have not until now found the real path to confronting fanaticism and extremism: look at the map of extremism in the world," he added.

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