Following are excerpts from an address delivered by Egyptian cleric Muhammad Zoghbi, which aired on Azhari TV on February 15, 2011.
Muhammad Zoghbi: Al-Azhar was subjected to a dangerous scheme, which was intended to shatter it and bring it down. This scheme consisted of three aspects: First, the politicization of the positions of the Sheik of Al-Azhar and the Mufti of Egypt, as well as the position of the Minister of Religious Endowments. These positions must be filled through elections. By no means should these officials be appointed by the president. Why? Because this politicization has led the people to lose their trust in Al-Azhar and its sheiks.
Therefore I say to the "sons" of Al-Azhar: Let us all join the campaign, led by Sheik Khaled Al-Gindi, until we liberate Al-Azhar, just like Egypt was liberated. The liberation of Al-Azhar is even better than the liberation of Egypt, because while Egypt is the mother of the Arab region, Al-Azhar is the mother of all the Muslims on planet Earth. If Al-Azhar gets back on its feet, the entire nation will be back on its feet, and if Al-Azhar is back on track, the entire nation will be back on track. The President of Egypt must be subordinate to Al-Azhar and respect it.
Therefore, I say to the Sheik of Al-Azhar: You should be above all this. You are like a father to us. We consider you to be a symbol. Place your trust in Allah, and resign immediately.
I say the same to the Mufti of Egypt, so that people won't say that I am addressing only the Sheik of Al-Azhar. The Mufti and the Minister of Religious Endowments should step down, leaving their positions to God-fearing imams, so that Al-Azhar can regain its status of the past, and so that we, just like the youth of the revolution, can say with pride: We, the heroic sons of Al-Azhar, have taken an oath that cannot be broken, and with the Koran in our hand, we will storm all of the land.