Al-Azhar invites political powers to discuss charter on Egypt’s future state

Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb has invited active political groups for an urgent meeting on Wednesday at his office to discuss an Al-Azhar-sponsored charter on Egypt's future state.

In a statement to reporters on Sunday, Tayyeb said the planned meeting aims to reach an accord on the charter which, he said, emphasizes Egypt's identity while preserving rights and freedoms.

In June, Al-Azhar, the highest religious institution in the Sunni Muslim world, issued a document tackling Egypt's future after the January revolution, and demanding a civil state with an unanimously-approved constitution.

Several political groups hailed the charter. The Egyptian government, meanwhile, says it will take into consideration all the documents proposed by Al-Azhar and presidential candidates when it drafts guidelines for electing the panel that will lay down the new constitution.

Al-Azhar is holding the meeting as a nationalist entity anxious to preserve the country's unity, according to Tayyeb.

The grand sheikh said that all political factions are invited, and Al-Azhar will remain impartial and not impose its opinions.

He said Al-Azhar will keep its doors open for everyone in order to protect democracy, citizenship and national unity.

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