CAIRO (RNS) — Long before the ascendance of the World Wide Web, Cairo’s Al-Azhar University served as the hub of global Islamic learning, its grand imam considered an authority on religious and public life for Sunni Muslims far beyond the borders of Egypt.

But over the years, the university’s hold over the interpretation of key Islamic concepts, including jihad, competed with extremist groups such as Islamic State — organizations with proven capabilities for deploying digital tools just as effectively as they do explosive devices.

In response, this 1,044-year-old institution decided to up its game.

“(Terrorists) say killing people is great because this is what Allah wants but we say that living in the name of Allah and letting others live is much greater,” said Tarek

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