Flyers calling for a boycott posted on the doors of an exam room at Al-Azhar university in Cairo.
Al-Azhar University in Cairo is fraught with tension in this final exam period. Although exams started on Saturday, many students that support the Muslim Brotherhood have chosen to boycott them. These students wish to denounce the sanctions that have been imposed on their fellow students who dared to openly support ousted president Mohammed Morsi in the last few weeks.
Student organisations at Al-Azhar that are pro-Muslim Brotherhood have united under the banner of the “coordination committee of Al-Azhar” and called for a boycott. Some students were satisfied with boycotting their own exams, while others went one step further and blocked the access points to buildings, forcing professors to turn back. Meanwhile, at the agronomy school, students went into the examination hall
and tore up the exam prompts in protest.
This video shows how exam rooms were barricaded by pro-Morsi students.
These protests did not unfold smoothly: in several women’s schools within Al-Azhar, there were clashes between students and proctors. Meanwhile, the university administration continued to claim that the exams were unfolding as planned.
This video shows a clash between students and a security guard.
Since Morsi was ousted by the army last July, Al-Azhar University has been the scene of several incidents linked to the political situation in Egypt. Clashes broke out on several occasions between pro- and anti-Morsi camps, but also with the police.
This large university trains thousands of students every year in a number of disciplines — law, medicine, business, etc. It is also one of the main universities for the study of Islam, and hosts many imams from around the world. The university is known as the most influential Sunni authority in the world.
On Tuesday, Egyptian prime minister Hazem Beblawi called the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist organisation” following a car bomb attack in the north of Egypt.