Screen grab from a video denouncing the poor hygienic conditions at Al-Azhar University's cafeterias. The item circled is a nail.
Students at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo are furious. They have been protesting against the dismal hygienic conditions at their university after several hundred students fell ill due to food poisoning.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, hundreds of students gathered around the offices of the president at the Cairo university to demand his resignation. On Monday, many of their classmates had fallen ill after eating a meal served at a university dormitory. According to a public health official, 479 students were hospitalized.
Egypt’s attorney general has ordered an investigation into this mass food poisoning. Meanwhile Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi visited several victims in the hospital.
Faced with the students’ outrage, the university’s board held an emergency meeting on Wednesday and announced the dismissal of the institution’s president, Oussama al-Abd. He will leave his position once a new university president is elected in mid-April.
Before the scandal broke, students had already been complaining to the administration and had filmed a shocking video of the dismal hygienic conditions in their cafeterias. The students showed meals infested with maggots, nails, bits of wood, and cockroaches.
At 0’27’’, one student explains: “Once, we found several small maggots the size of matchsticks in a stew. Last year we found a piece of metal in a rice dish.” A bit later, the footage shows a nail baked into a piece of bread. And at 2’16”, another student shows his platter, upon which he had found a maggot.
Each year, thousands of students study law, medicine, business, and many other disciplines at Al-Azhar University
. It is also one of the biggest centers for the study of Islam, hosting imams from around the world.