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Syria: Assad abolishes Grand Mufti post after 74 years

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After 74 years, the office of Grand Mufti of Syria, the highest religious authority of Sunni Islam, is abolished in Syria with a decree signed by President Bashar al Assad and promulgated in the last few hours.
This was reported by the Syrian government agency Sana, according to which the functions of the Grand Mufti, held for 16 years by the Shaykh Ahmad Badr Hassun of Aleppo, are now entrusted to the ministry of religious affairs through a newly created ad hoc council of Islamic jurisprudence.
It is not yet clear what the political motive behind this decision is, which comes after years of attempts by the central government in Damascus to directly control the religious affairs of a country with a Sunni majority.
The post of Grand Mufti was established in 1947, a year after Syria’s formal independence from the French mandate. But a similar position existed since the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1918.
Both Shaykh Hassun and his predecessor Ahmad Kuftaro have long been staunch defenders of Assad power. And the position of Grand Mufti, as also happens in other countries of the region, is strictly controlled by the central power, being an explicit emanation of it.
In 2018, Assad issued another decree limiting the Grand Mufti’s term of office to three years, while previously the mandate was for life.
The first public reactions to the decision oscillate between those who denounce the interference of power in religious affairs and those who applaud the decision, considering it an attempt to fight extremism. (ANSAMed).

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Source From: Ansa

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