In an interview conducted by al-Tahrīr newspaper and Azhar representative, Dr. ‘Abbās Shūmān, revealed several interesting details regarding the institution’s role in society, as well as its opinion on the current state of affairs. Firstly, Dr. Shūmān stressed that, “people’s behavior and morals have unfortunately worsened this Ramadan as a result of the terrorist acts that have occurred throughout the month… as has the phenomenon of intentional non-fasting.” Dr. Shūmān continued to add that al-Azhar is of the opinion that security solutions will not solve the current terrorist phenomenon, and that swift and decisive judicial action is needed to enact strong punishments on perpetrators. Moreover, Dr. Shūmān stated that al-Azhar was one of the institutions most affected by the events of the past year, highlighting that, under the Muslim Brotherhood, members of the organization were trying to infiltrate the Azhar institution to enforce their doctrine and politicize the institution – something completely rejected by al-Azhar. Dr. Shūmān underlined, “al-Azhar is not a political institution, it does not want a hand in politics, nor does it get involved in politics beyond that which is dictated to it by its patriotic and jurisprudential responsibilities.” Dr. Shūmān also addressed the topic of the Palestinian cause, affirming that the institution does not support a particular organization, but rather clearly opposes the Israeli offensive on the Palestinian population – irrespective of their political whims. Regarding the topic of interreligious dialogue, Dr. Shūmān mourned the loss of Dr. Mahmūd ‘Azāb but guaranteed that the Committee of Interreligious Dialogue will continue its work, but al-Azhar has yet to pick who will take the late Dr. ‘Azāb’s place. In addition, Dr. Shūmān attested to the success of Bayt al-‘Aila in working to eradicate sectarian violence. With respect to ISIS, and other organizations that carry out terrorist acts in the name of religion, Dr. Shūmān emphasized that Islam is the religion of peace and compassion, towards Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and that such acts have nothing to do with religion. However, in terms of the censorship of films and al-Azhar’s cultural role in society, Dr. Shūmān stated, “al-Azhar issues its opinions on films that it sees propagating un-Islamic ideas such as nudity and profanity, but cannot possibly dedicate itself to this cause due to its other responsibilities.” In terms of the ongoing debate between the Ministry of Culture and al-Azhar regarding the personification of prophets in films, Dr. Shūmān stressed that intellectuals should not get involved in the jurisprudential work of al-Azhar, much like how al-Azhar does not get involved in their work. On a final note regarding this issue, Dr. Shūmān affirmed, “ we are not a censoring authority, nor do we wish to be, we only have a jurisprudential responsibility that we wish to uphold. Once we issue an opinion, it is a person’s choice whether or not to take it.” (Al-Shaymā’ ‘Abd al-Latīf, al-Tahrīr, Jul. 30, p. 4).