Egypt's Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayeb, delivers a speech during the international summit of women parliamentary speakers on December 12, 2016, in Abu Dhabi
Egypt's Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayeb, delivers a speech during the international summit of women parliamentary speakers on December 12, 2016, in Abu Dhabi © NEZAR BALOUT - AFP
Egypt's Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayeb, delivers a speech during the international summit of women parliamentary speakers on December 12, 2016, in Abu Dhabi
AFP
Last updated: December 13, 2016

Western modernity "not best" for Muslim women, says al-Azhar head

The head of al-Azhar, Egypt's top Sunni authority, said on Monday that the Western concept of modernity is not the "best example" for Muslim women to follow.

"Islam has done justice to the Muslim woman and freed her from shackles and restrictions," said Al-Azhar's grand imam, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb.

Muslim women were "influenced more by tradition and customs than by the precepts of Islam," he told the Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliaments in Abu Dhabi.

The sheikh said that in some ways the situation of women had deteriorated to a pre-Islam state, in an apparent reference to the influence of radical Islamists.

However he insisted that emulating life in the West was not the solution.

"The Western concept of modernity is not the best example to be followed by the rest of the world," he said, acknowledging, however, the "positive aspects" of scientific and humanitarian progress.

The two-day summit brings together 50 women parliamentary leaders from around the globe.

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