One would think, given Al-Azhar’s anointing by the New York Times after 9/11 as a beacon of Islamic moderation, that these folks would have been more tolerant. Somehow I think the Times’ view of Al-Azhar, home of Grand Sheikh Tantawi who has praised suicide bombing (and also condemned it, depending apparently on which way he perceived the wind was blowing), is more wishful thinking than reality. From AFP, with thanks to Mentat:
CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt’s religious authorities raided book stores and stands Saturday, confiscating hundreds of publications as well as audio and videotapes they claim do not conform to Islamic teachings.
The raid came only three days after Justice Minister Faruq Seif al-Nasr granted Al-Azar, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious institution, wide-ranging powers to ban and confiscate material it deems violate religious principles.
Novels by secular writers and even unorthodox versions of the Holy Quran, were seized in the raids, raising concerns the religious establishment might use its new powers to suppress free thought.