Al-Azhar, Egypt’s primary religious institution, has condemned, in a Friday statement, alleged calls for protests by a group called the “Al-Azhar Scholars Front” on the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in dispersal’s second anniversary.
The pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins took place in Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda Squares in Cairo on 14 August 2013, and occurred following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Since then, the Egyptian government has launched a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members, supporters and affiliates, nationwide.
Last Wednesday, a statement attributed to the Al-Azhar Scholars Front allegedly called for people to protest on the second anniversary of the dispersals. The statement went viral via social media networks however the official statement couldn’t be found on the official website of the Front.
Al-Azhar noted in its statement that the Front was dissolved in 1999, and warned against the group’s schemes, as it aims “to destabilise security” in the country.
The Al-Azhar statement renounces such destructive calls, whilst also stressing that the Front has no relation with Al-Azhar itself. It further noted that legal action will be taken against anyone belonging to the Front.
Al-Azhar stressed that such calls seek “to spoil the joy of the Egyptians in the celebration of the completion of the new Suez Canal project”, which is set to open on 6 August.
Earlier in July, the Cabinet gave its approval to renaming Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square after late Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat.
The Rabaa Al-Adaweya dispersal was condemned by human rights organisations, namely Human Rights Watch (HRW) which reported that approximately 1,000 people died during the dispersal. The government-initiated 30 June Fact Finding Committee, formed following the 30 June uprising, found that 607 protestors were killed during the sit-in dispersal.