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Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar has tough words for US ambassador

Al-Tayeb criticises Islamophobia and US pro-Israel bias but emphasises Muslims do not reject Americans, just US policies in the Middle East

Ahram Online , Tuesday 27 Sep 2011
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The US ambassador in Cairo, Ann Peterson, on Tuesday met with the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayeb.

During the meeting, Sheikh El-Tayeb criticised the Islamophobia faced by Muslim-Americans and accused the Western media of spreading anti-Muslim sentiment. El-Tayeb added that Islamophobia goes against the democratic principles of the United States.

The Grand Sheikh also raised other issues with the ambassadopr such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the clear bias of the US administration on the Palestinian issue, making it clear that people in the region do not reject the American people but they reject the policies of its government in the region.

From her side, Ambassador Peterson hoped there would be increased cooperation between Al-Azhar and the States, which was welcomed by El-Tayeb on the condition that the US government does not interfere in the internal running of Al-Azhar.

It was Peterson’s first visit to Al-Azhar since she was stationed in Cairo in last August.

Ambassador Peterson met with Pope Shenouda III on Monday.

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