While experts hailed an Al-Azhar document issued last month, saying it is a step towards restoring Al-Azhar’s status as an essential institution, they expressed some reservations during a press conference Wednesday.

Scholars said the document should include rights of atheists and beliefs other than Christianity and Judaism, while others criticized the document for stripping Egypt of its Islamic identity. Others saw it as granting the Al-Azhar undeserved authorities.

The International Center for Future and Strategic Studies (ICFS) held a press conference discussing the pros and cons of a document issued by Al-Azhar and a number of Egyptian intellectuals defining “the relationship between Islam and the state in this difficult phase.”

The document called for a “modern, democratic” and secular state in Egypt. Panelists included a number of Azhar Sheikhs and experts who evaluated the document.

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