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Protests at Aligarh Muslim University as controversial Egyptian Grand Mufti visits

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Protests took place at Aligarh Muslim University in India on Tuesday, May 2, as the Grand Mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Dr. Shawki Ibrahim Abdel Karim Allam visited to attend an event titled “Dialogue Among Civilizations” at the Kennedy Auditorium. The event was organized by the Public Relations Office of the university and was part of Dr. Allam’s six-day state visit to India hosted by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, and Government of India. Despite the protest, the event took place under heightened security measures.

Protesting students held placards inside and outside the venue stating, “UNWELCOMING The Grand Mufti, Who Enables Human Rights Violation.” A research scholar who was part of the protest, Mohammad Ghayasuddin, told Maktoob, “Shawki Ibrahim is not the Grand Mufti of an Arab nation but a killer and mufti of oppressing Muslims.” He added, “We protested against his presence on the AMU campus because it has a legacy and history of standing against oppression and we cannot welcome killers and oppressors here.”

The students were against Dr. Allam’s visit due to his controversial role as the Grand Mufti of Egypt. Amnesty International has reported that Dr. Allam has endorsed several death sentences, leading to a disturbing increase in executions in Egypt, ranking the country third worst in the world in 2020 in terms of the number of executions carried out. Additionally, Dr. Allam endorsed the death sentence that was imposed on former President Mohammed Morsi, who was associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and who died tragically while being held in detention in June 2019. UN experts have labeled his death as an instance of “state-sanctioned arbitrary killing.”

Despite the protest, the event took place with a large audience present at the venue. The administration of the university arranged for the students and staff to attend the lecture, with some students reportedly being forced to attend, or risk having their attendance marked as absent. Special buses were arranged for female resident students to attend the event.

After the event concluded, the protesters were disbanded by university authorities to ensure the safe and secure exit of Dr. Allam under heightened security measures. The event was attended by the acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Mohammad Gulrez, and staff and administration of the university.

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