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Egypt

Al-Azhar: Separating Egyptian Islam From The State. But To What End?

In post-Mubarak Egypt, both devout Muslims and ardent secularists are calling for the autonomy of Cairo's authoritative Islamic institution and center for learning. But they have very different ideas about where it will lead.

Inside Al-Azhar mosque (Jonah Bettio)
Inside Al-Azhar mosque (Jonah Bettio)
Noha El-Hennawy

CAIRO - Despite ongoing feuds over the identity of the state in post-Mubarak Egypt, both secularists and Islamists seem to agree on one issue: the need to liberate from government control, Al-Azhar, the more than 1,000-year-old mosque, university and religious institution widely considered by Sunni Muslims as the world's historical center for Islamic learning.

Though there is support from virtually all camps for separating Egypt's Muslim clergy from the state, the motivations are very different. Islamists view an autonomous Al-Azhar as the key to achieving an Islamic renaissance in Egypt. Meanwhile, non-Islamists view the freeing of the religious establishment - long known for its moderate understanding of Islam - as a way to regain credibility among the masses and stem the influence of radical groups.

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Society

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

"Don't abort my right" At 2019 pro-choice march In Toulouse, France.

Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via ZUMA
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

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