The place of Al-Azhar and the ulema
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The place of Al-Azhar and the ulema book
The modernism initiated by Shaykh Muhammad Abduh failed to influence sufficient numbers of his peers to continue his lead. His many followers outside the religious institution generated much commentary but no change. Those within the walls of al-Azhar who wanted change and publicly followed Abduh's lead found those walls as insurmountable as the shaykhs were unforgiving to those who broke ranks. Islam has no Giordano Bruno or Galileo, and al-Azhar no problem with science as long as proponents of its methodology mind their own business and refrain from intruding their critical analysis into other disciplines that closely touch on religion. The liberal policies Sadat introduced during the few years he enjoyed in self-deluding glory following the partially successful 1973 war served to expand al-Azhar's activism. Al-Azhar, the state and Islamic radicals colluded in supporting censorship and suppressing freedom of speech and open discussion of ideas as threats to both religion and the state.