RNA – Hujjat al-Islam Mohammad Raeji, a researcher in the Islamic Seminary of Qom, spoke about the influence of Wahhabism in Egypt’s renowned Sunni Muslim academic institution, al-Azhar University in an interview with Rasa News Agency.
The following is a continuation of his report:
Saudi Arabia’s Strategies to Influence al-Azhar University
The influence of Saudi Arabia in al-Azhar University takes place in a variety of ways. Here are some of the ways below:
1. Completion of half-finished projects: The most important of these methods is the Saudi financial support for al-Azhar’s large-scale projects, especially due to the severe financial problems, the inadequate economic situation and the dependence of this religious institution on the rulers, it is possible for the Wahhabis to influence this institution through financial support and funding. Many of al-Azhar’s religious plans, which remained stagnant due to lack of funding, were implemented with the help of Saudi Arabia.
2. Satellite networks: Launching a satellite network to broadcast religious programs is another method for al-Azhar to spread its influence. There is discussion of launching a satellite network in the al-Darasah district of Cairo in the new year and the establishment of stadiums to broadcast religious programs. These programs promote Wahhabism in various formats and means.
3. Financial and spiritual support: The restoration, reconstruction and development of al-Azhar in the financial aspect, as well as arranging numerous scientific and cultural trips, such as trips for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages for the members of the Council of Senior Scholars and al-Azhar religious elites and their accommodation in the best hotels, visits to historical and Islamic centres in the spiritual dimension, are among the other methods that Wahhabism has used to spread its influence in al-Azhar.
4. Training missionaries and teachers: By identifying the elites of the Egyptian religious community and inviting them to study at Saudi universities and religious centres or sending teachers and missionary to al-Azhar to teach and promote the Wahhabi ideology are among their other strategies. With the rise of teachers affiliated to the Wahhabi ideology and the training of elites in line with the positions of the Al Saud, Saudi Arabia can easily take possession of the social and religious pulse of Egypt and take advantage of these individuals in the important and necessary decisions.