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Iran's Ahmadinejad sheds tears at Muslim tomb during historic Cairo visit
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prays, cries beside Cairo tomb of Sayyida Zeinab, daughter of Shia Islam's central figure Al-Imam Ali Ibn Abi Taleb
Ahram Online, Tuesday 5 Feb 2013
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photo Ahram
photo Ahram
photo Ahram
photo Ahram (photo: Ahram)

On a historic visit to Egypt on Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the mosque and mausoleum of Sayyida Zeinab in the capital's Old Cairo district, where he cried beside the Muslim matriarch's tomb.

Sayyida Zeinab was the daughter of Al-Imam Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, the central figure of Shia Islam and the cousin of Islam's Prophet Mohamed.

Ahmadinejad, currently visiting Cairo for the very first time to attend this year's summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), greeted the mosque's superintendents with hugs and kisses on Tuesday. After praying inside the mosque, he headed to the adjacent mausoleum where he cried and prayed next to Sayyida Zeinab's tomb.

As he exited the mosque, Ahmadinejad hugged and kissed several children he found there, praising them for performing their prayers at such a young age.

Ahmadinejad received a frostier welcome earlier in the day when he met with Ahmed El-Tayeb, the head of Egypt's Al-Azhar, the highest seat of religious learning in the Sunni-Muslim world.

El-Tayeb used the occasion to tell the Iranian president that he rejected the spread of Shia influence in Sunni-Muslim countries, calling on Tehran to "stop interfering in the Gulf," according to an Al-Azhar statement.

Bahaa Anwar, a spokesman for Egypt's small Shia community, meanwhile, criticised El-Tayeb's meeting with the Iranian president.

"The head of Al-Azhar received Ahmadinejad, who is ambivalent towards the Arab world, while he refuses to meet with Egypt's Shias," Anwar told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website on Tuesday.

Ahmadinejad's visit also came in for criticism by Egyptian Salafist figures, who practice an ultra-conservative brand of Sunni Islam.

Egypt and Iran have taken radically different courses since the late 1970s. Under late president Anwar Sadat, Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, becoming a close ally of the United States and Europe.

Iran, by contrast, following its 1979 Islamic Revolution, became a centre of opposition to Western influence in the region.

Ahmadinejad's current visit to Egypt indicates a thaw in relations since Egyptians elected an Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, in elections last June. It has also, however, highlighted deep theological and geopolitical differences between the two countries.



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Ashraf
06-02-2013 08:28pm
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Justice for all Muslim regardless of being Sunni or Shia
It is very ironic that Al-Azhar is indifferent to the uprising in Bahrain that has been going on by Bahrainis for the last 2 years( peaceful protests), while he is ok with Saudis and others supporting terrorism( armed terrorists) inside Syria? Overlooking justice that Islam is so proudly stands for? As a real Muslim he should stand for ALL injustices regardless of being Sunni or Shia!
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3



Ashraf
06-02-2013 08:15pm
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5+
Justice for all Muslim regardless of being Sunni or Shia
It is very ironic that Al-Azhar is indifferent to the uprising in Bahrain that has been going on by Bahrainis for the last 2 years( peaceful protests), while he is ok with Saudis and others supporting terrorism( armed terrorists) inside Syria? Overlooking justice that Islam is so proudly stands for? As a real Muslim he should stand for ALL injustices regardless of being Sunni or Shia!
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2



Rashid
06-02-2013 05:45am
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3+
Crocodile tears
Why is not Ahmadinejad crying for the thousands of syrians that Iran is helping Assad kill. That is hypocrasy to the highest level.
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Dawood
07-02-2013 10:19am
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Ahmadinejad crying
It is wewstern propaganda that the deaths in Syria are caused by Assad. Go to RTI and you will see that the Syrian opposition is also involved in indiscriminate kilings.
1



peace
06-02-2013 12:05am
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7+
peace
peace and blessings upon our dear prophet and his progeny
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