The head of Al-Azhar, the pre-eminent institute of Islamic learning in the Sunni Muslim world, put forward a bill of rights on Tuesday upholding freedom of expression and belief ahead of the drafting of Egypt’s new constitution.

The bill, which was in the works for three months, is a bid by Al-Azhar to assert its role as the voice of moderate Islam in the face of growing political power of more conservative Islamic groups in Egypt following the February ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

The conservative Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most organized political force, and the more radical ultraconservative Salafis have won a majority in the country’s first elected post-Mubarak parliament.

Both call for an Islamic basis for the state, raising worries among Egypt’s liberal and Christian groups that conservative religious teachings will dictate the shape of the new constitution.

Continue Reading on www.washingtontimes.com