Egypt's top cleric urges rethink over student expelled for hug

2019-01-14 20:21


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Egypt's top Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb urged Al-Azhar university on Monday to reconsider the expulsion of a female student who was filmed hugging a male colleague.

In a video widely circulated earlier this month, a man was seen carrying a bouquet of flowers kneeling before a woman and then hugging her in what appeared to be a marriage proposal.

Al-Azhar university had decided on Saturday to expel the young woman.

Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Egypt's most prestigious seat of Sunni Islamic learning, called on the university's disciplinary board to "reconsider the punishment".

He cited the student's young age and her educational future, although said her conduct outside campus was "unacceptable" and unbecoming for "religious and oriental traditions".

The video was taken at Mansoura University in the country's north, where the man filmed is a student.

Hany Helal, spokesperson for the university, said the disciplinary board "decided to expel the student for two years"  although he can appeal the decision.

Egypt, a predominantly Muslim country, is a largely conservative society.

Al-Azhar is touted as standing for Islamic moderation, but critics often accuse the institution of failing to modernise its teachings in order to counter extremism.

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