Speaking to IQNA, Yahya Mohammad Ali al-Sahhaf said the North African country’s annual Quranic event is getting away from its original purpose.
He said Quran contests are important venues for promotion of unity among all Islamic schools of thought, and that is why such moves are unacceptable.
"Unfortunately, in some Arab countries like Egypt, religious institutions and personalities are influenced by political issues, which is a major challenge,” he stated.
Religious bodies like al-Azhar and the Quran Reciters Association of Egypt should not be affected by politics but should make a distinction between political issues and religious and Quranic program, al-Sahhaf stressed.
He further noted that the Islamic Republic, which organizes one of the best and most important Quran competition in the Muslim world, invites all countries to send their representatives to the contest and does not allow political problems to interfere with Quranic and religious programs.
Iran seeks to use these competitions as an opportunity for promoting and strengthening unity among Muslims, he said.
The Iraqi Quranic figure went on to say that absence of Iranian Quran reciters and memorizers in Egypt’s competition will certainly cause the level of the contest to be lower than previous years.
It was reported last week that Egypt has refused to invite Iran, Turkey and Qatar to send their representatives to it international Quran competition.
Egypt’s Awqaf Ministry said in a statement that it has invited 70 countries, 41 of which have expressed readiness to take part in the competition.
It added that the port city of Sharm el-Sheikh will host the Quranic event on April 10-14.
The statement also noted that Quran masters from 9 countries, including Kuwait, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan will form the panel of judges.
Cairo’s refusal to invite the three Muslim countries to the annual Quran competition is obviously a politically-motivated move.
It is unfortunate that Egypt has made such a decision to politicize and, thus, tarnish an international Quranic program, which could otherwise serve as a venue for enhancing Islamic unity, something that the Muslim Ummah needs more than ever.
Iran, unlike Egypt, recognizes the important role of Quranic activities in promoting Muslim unity and that is why the Islamic Republic invites Egyptian Quran reciters and memorizers to all of its international Quranic events.
Moreover, senior Egyptian Quran masters have frequently visited Iran and attended Quran recitation sessions in different Iranian cities.