16 - 22 September 1999
Issue No. 447
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
TURNING A NEW LEAF: President Hosni Mubarak inaugurated Al-Azhar's new offices on Monday after the headquarters of Sunni Islam's most venerated institution moved from the cramped quarters it had occupied for 65 years.
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The building that now houses the offices of the 1,000-year-old institution is shaped like an open book. Inspired by Islamic architectural motifs, the new edifice also accommodates state-of-the-art facilities. Covering an area of 9,000 square metres, construction costs amounted to LE50 million.
Following a tour of the premises, the president met with members of Al-Azhar's Supreme Council and representatives of the Academy for Islamic Research, and then attended the inaugural ceremony in the building's main hall.
In a brief address to the assembly, Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, declared "the message of Al-Azhar is to convey the truth about Islam and the wisdom of its doctrines," adding that Al-Azhar seeks to serve the interests of the people through "cooperation with the executive, legislative and judicial authorities". Sheikh Tantawi took the occasion to present the president with his fifteen-volume exegesis of the Qur'an. Mubarak was also presented with the Al-Azhar University shield and a book commemorating Al-Azhar's millennial anniversary.
(photo: Randa Shaath)