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Mohamed ElBaradei

The former head of the UN nuclear watchdog is considering running for president in Egypt. But how is the popular ElBaradei linked to the First Lady of Syria (via one of Egypt’s most outspoken MPs)?

March 24, 2010 2:05 by

Sheikh Muhammad Tantawy

Sheikh Tantawy, the spiritual leader of Egypt’s Al-Azhar Mosque, died earlier this month of a heart attack. The 81 year-old Imam had a longstanding reputation for religious declarations with international implications – resonating politically and culturally around the world.

Tantawy was widely criticized in 2003 when he announced that French Muslims should follow the laws of the country, referring to proposed legislation in France that would ban conspicuous religious symbols in public schools.

Critics regarded the Sheikh as treading a thin line between religion and politics, by attempting to uphold the tenets of orthodox Islam, yet careful to avoid aggravating the French government.

In a speech in Cairo, Tantawy maintained that, while the veil is obligatory for Muslim women, the obligation was mitigated in non-Muslim countries where legislation prohibits it, according to the BBC. One member of the audience was the then French Minister of Interior…


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