Religion: Islam's University

Wearing scarlet caps and traditional flowing robes, some 400 imams one day last week left al-Azhar, Islam's oldest university, and fanned out through the streets of Cairo to spread a new-style gospel. The preachers had just completed a two-week course designed to align their ancient faith with the facts of modern life.

The imams heard Sociologist Ali Abdel Wahad tell them that suppression of women in the Arab world is a distortion of the Koran's teaching. They heard Mohamed Madani, dean of the Islamic Law Faculty, declare that "not a single phrase in the...

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