CAIRO, Egypt — During the sweaty morning commute through one of Cairo’s busiest subway stations, passengers can now find the answers to some of life’s thorniest dilemmas.
Al Azhar, the revered 1,000-year-old mosque and college and Egypt’s ultimate source of Sunni Islam jurisprudence, has made its scholars available to the masses with a pop-up kiosk next to the turnstiles of Shouhada — “Martyrs” — subway station.
A handful of Muslim clerics huddle with passengers at a table in a windowed kiosk, cooled by a whirring fan, offering religious instructions or “fatwas.” Those in a rush grab a quick consultation outside.
Business is brisk — up from 50 visitors a day when the service began three weeks ago to about 150 a day now — and neighborhood couples even drop by to resolve martial disputes.
The pilot project is part of a growing effort by Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al Sisi to counter extremist ideology with modern, moderate discourse in the mosque and on the street.
In recent years, Egypt has been rocked by large scale terrorist attacks on Christians by an ISIS-linked group and is battling radicals in North Sinai. Many believe moderate Islamic opinion can make a difference.
“Imagine liquor, it is banned by Islamic law … but is acceptable when it belongs to non-Muslims. This is just one of many…