With the escalation of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis and the repeated failure of negotiations between Cairo and Addis Ababa, the debate between the two parties reached the religious institutions in the two countries, as each of them began to support the position of the authority in their country.
The latest stage of this controversy is the criticism of Abbas Shoman, the former deputy of Al-Azhar and a member of the main Fatwa Committee in Al-Azhar, the statements of the head of the Islamic Federal Supreme Council in Ethiopia, Haji Omar Idris.
After Hajj Idris chose to talk about Ethiopia as the land of the Negus, that just king to whom the Muslims migrated to escape with their religion in the early years of the mission of the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, Shoman said that Addis Ababa is following in the footsteps of Abraha, the military leader who tried to demolish the Kaaba. .
Shoman added, in response to the statement of the Grand Mufti of Ethiopia, in which he attacked the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, that “the Sheikh of Al-Azhar knows the Negus and his justice, and he spoke to the Ethiopian delegation that visited the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar years ago, when the Renaissance Dam crisis erupted on the scene of events, recalling the historical relations between Muslims since the beginning of Islam.” Until the present time.”
A member of the Fatwa Committee explained that the Sheikh of Al-Azhar told the delegation at the time, words written in gold water, including, “We are not against Ethiopia’s use of the Nile water, but not at the expense of the Egyptians’ thirst.”
Shoman continued: Yes, the Negus on whose land you live was just. But your government is not the government of the Negus, and it is not on his life; Rather, it is based on the biography of your grandfather Abraha, who tried to demolish the Kaaba, so prove that you are the sons of the Negus, not Abraha, and declare the rights of Egypt and Sudan in deed, not in word, and you declare that you are the grandson of the Negus and prove that you are just like him.
This comes after a statement issued by Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, last Tuesday, in which he called on the international, African, Arab and Islamic community to assume their responsibilities, join hands and support Egypt and Sudan in preserving their water rights in the Nile River, and addressing the claim of some ownership of the river, and tyranny by disposing of it to the detriment of the lives of the peoples of the two countries.
El-Tayeb expressed his appreciation for the Egyptian and Sudanese diplomatic efforts, for adopting the language of serious negotiations, and for striving to find solutions that preserve everyone’s rights to invest in natural resources without prejudice to the rights of others in any way.
He also stressed that continuing to underestimate the rights of others – especially basic rights such as water – is forbidden by Sharia, as well as being in violation of international and local morals, norms and laws, and if this door is opened, it will have serious consequences for world peace, as some rivers pass more From 5 countries, can you imagine that one of them is unique?
On the other hand, Haj Omar Idris, head of the Ethiopian Federal Islamic Affairs Council and the country’s mufti, denounced the statement of Sheikh Al-Azhar, saying that it lacks realism, and that this kind of calls contradict Islamic values, and are completely rejected in terms of religious principles.
The Grand Mufti of Ethiopia added, in statements he made last Thursday to the media, that the Nile waters stem from Ethiopia, which has the right to benefit from its natural resources without causing significant harm to the Nile Basin countries in general, according to the Ethiopian News Agency.
Idris said that Ethiopia requested a fair and equitable use of the natural resources that link all the Nile Basin countries, considering that it is a fair request and that it is not rejected by Sharia or law, as he put it.
It is worth noting that, after coming to power, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, granted the Islamic Council (the largest Islamic body in the country) in 2018 a legal status after decades of not recognizing it; Thus, it becomes a fully sovereign Islamic religious institution.
The Secretary of the Supreme Council of Ethiopian Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Qassim Muhammad Tajeddin, has a close relationship with the Prime Minister, according to an article published in early May by Egyptian researcher Mustafa Zahran.
Under the title “Abi Ahmed’s Game.. Why do Ethiopian Muslims support the Renaissance Dam?”, the Egyptian researcher explained that ” Abi Ahmed” worked to allow Muslims to work within government institutions, and courtship to Muslim symbols and advocates, as well as their participation in their religious occasions and holidays, which contributed In employing their elite and symbols.
He pointed out that Mufti Hajj Omar Idris is the most prominent of these faces, given his various speeches and statements, which lend religious legitimacy to the dam project.
The debate between religious institutions reached social networking sites, where activists expressed their rejection of Hajj Omar Idris’ attack on the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, and also questioned the impact of this rhetoric on the issue of the Renaissance Dam.
Some of the pioneers denounced Hajj Omar’s statements about Ethiopia being the country of the Negus, at a time when the Ethiopian forces bombed the shrine of Al-Malik Al-Adil Negus, during the attack on Tigray region, according to their claim.
And with the approaching date of the second filling of the Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia insists that it will take place in the next July and August, about a year after the first filling, even if it has not reached an agreement with the downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.
While Cairo and Khartoum adhere to first reaching a tripartite agreement to preserve their water facilities, and to ensure the continued flow of their annual share of the Nile waters.
In the strongest threat to Addis Ababa since the outbreak of the crisis 10 years ago, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on March 30 that “the Nile waters are a red line, and any harm to Egypt’s waters will have a reaction that threatens the stability of the entire region.”