The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and best-organized political party, on Nov. 25, 2011 held a rally at the al Azhar mosque in Cairo. The rally turned into one of the most venomous anti-Semitic rallies in recent times. Eldad Beck, Ynet’s Arab affairs correspondent, reported that about 5,000 joined the rally and made a call for genocide with repeated vows to “one day kill all the Jews.”
Al-Azhar Mosque is part of al-Azhar University, a millennium- old compound in central Cairo that is the world’s leading center of Arabic literature and Sunni jurisprudence.
The event, organizers said, was aimed at rallying Egyptians behind the “battle against Jerusalem’s Judaization.” The event coincided with the anniversary of the United Nations' partition plan in 1947, which called for the establishment of a Jewish state.
Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen, as well as Palestinian guest speakers, made explicit calls for Jihad and for liberating the whole of Palestine. Speakers at the demonstration condemned “Zionist occupiers” and “treacherous Jews.” Organizers distributed maps of the Old City highlighting areas where “Zionists are aiming to change Jerusalem’s Muslim character.” Throughout the event, Muslim Brotherhood activists chanted, “Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv: Judgment Day has come.”
Muhammad Ahmed el- Tayeb, the imam of al-Azhar Mosque, told the crowd: “Al- Aksa Mosque is currently under an offensive by the Jews... We shall not allow the Zionists to Judaize al-Quds [Jerusalem]. We are telling Israel and Europe that we shall not allow even one stone to be moved there.” He asserted that “Jews everywhere in the world are seeking to prevent Islamic and Egyptian unity.”
"In order to build Egypt, we must be one. Politics is insufficient. Faith in Allah is the basis for everything," he said.
Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb had been Grand Mufti of Egypt for one year from March 10, 2002 until September 27, 2003. He then became President of Al-Azhar University from September 28, 2003 until March of 2010. His academic career spanned more than 40 years at Al-Azhar University, as a faculty member and where he earned a Ph.D. He was dean of his department, as well as several of Al-Azhar colleges around Egypt and at the International Islamic University of Pakistan. Outside Egypt, his teaching career includes several years in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Emirates, and Pakistan.
He was known as a moderate and a critic of the Muslim Brotherhood and participated in many international interfaith conferences. Nevertheless, he has lamented the loss of spiritual values in the West, saying that it has resulted in attempts to destroy and dominate other peoples and cultures.
President Hosni Mubarak in March of 2010 issued a decree naming him the grand Imam of Al-Azhar. When interviewed upon becoming appointed, he took a position against the Muslim Brotherhood. My most important priority during the next stage is for al-Azhar to achieve universality and to disseminate the moderate Islamic approach. He wanted to help build civilized and Islamic ideology based upon tolerance and the rejection of extremist ideology and will result in the graduation of generations of scholars who are able to accommodate the changes of modernity.
It seems with the revolt against Mubarak and his government, Ahmed al-Tayeb has moved away from religious tolerance and joined the Islamic fanaticism preached by the Muslim Brotherhood. This would explain his providing the brotherhood with the opportunity to hold a rally at al Azhar mosque, to join them in an attack on Jews, and to call for jihad.
Businessmen in the crowd were urged to invest funds in Jerusalem in order to prevent the acquisition of land and homes by Jews. Upon leaving the rally, worshippers were given small flags, with Egypt's flag on one side and the Palestinian flag on the other, as well as maps of Jerusalem's Old City detailing where "Zionists are aiming to change Jerusalem's Muslim character."
However, Eldad Beck reported that most worshippers who prayed at the mosque Friday quickly left it before the Muslim Brotherhood's rally got underway, but other people joined the rally. A group spokesman urged attendants to remain for the protest, asking them not to create a bad impression for the media by leaving.