Al-Azhar keen to foster ties with UK, Anglican Church: Grand imam tells Prince Charles

Ahram Online , Thursday 18 Nov 2021

Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb affirmed to Britain's Crown Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker – the Duchess of Cornwall – his keenness to enhance scientific, religious, and cultural ties with the United Kingdom and the Anglican Church.

Charles, Camilla   Ahmed al-Tayeb
Britain s Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla visit the Al-Azhar Mosque, the oldest Sunni institution in the Muslim world with Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque Ahmed al-Tayeb, left, in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. AP

El-Tayyeb, the head of the world's leading Sunni Muslim institution, received the royal couple on Thursday in Al-Azhar Mosque in Islamic Cairo.

The meeting sought to discuss means of enhancing dialogue among religions and to review ongoing social crises across the world, at the top of which is climate change, Al-Azhar said in a statement.

Prince Charles hailed the El-Tayyeb's efforts over the past years in countering extremism and promoting a culture of dialogue among religions.

The prince said he has followed closely El-Tayyeb’s recent efforts to spread tolerance and acceptance, including during the grand imam's recent visit to the Vatican where he met with Pope Francis.

In the October meeting, El-Tayyeb and the pope discussed work on the initiatives agreed upon in the Document on Human Fraternity, which was signed in Abu Dhabi in 2019, with the aim of reinforcing the principle of coexistence among religions.

These initiatives included the construction of the Interfaith Abrahamic Family House that is scheduled to open next year in Abu Dhabi, comprising a church, a mosque and a synagogue.

The courage and wisdom of Prince Charles and other world leaders have encouraged Al-Azhar to extend dialogue bridges with various cultures and religions, El-Tayyeb told the royal couple.

These bridges include those forged with churches in the east and west, including Canterbury and Vatican, El-Tayyeb affirmed, noting that this openness has yielded important results.

These efforts have been crowned by signing the Document on Human Fraternity with Pope Francis, El-Tayyeb said.

Al-Azhar held numerous rounds of talks with the Cathedral of Canterbury and his dear friend Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, El-Tayyeb said during Thursday’s meeting.

It also extended communication bridges between youth from east and west to spread peace, tolerance and love, El-Tayyeb affirmed.

El-Tayyeb praised Al-Azhar’s strong scientific relations with the UK, which has allowed Al-Azhar graduates to earn the highest scientific degrees from major British universities.

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla arrived in Cairo earlier today.

They were received by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and First Lady Entissar El-Sisi at tyhe Ittihadiya Palace in Heliopolis..

They later also visited the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx.

“A phenomenal moment at one of Egypt’s great sites of rich ancient history,” the royal couple wrote on Twitter, posting a photo of themselves alongside the Sphinx.

Prince Charles visited on his own Bayt Al-Razzaz in Historic Cairo and inspected handicrafts.

During his visit to Egypt, the prince will celebrate the UK’s support for efforts to protect cultural heritage by meeting a number of craftspeople and conservationists.

Prince Charles will also meet with young entrepreneurs in Egypt’s private sector to discuss innovative businesses in the country and opportunities for adopting environmentally friendly practices.

Meanwhile, Duchess Camilla visited Ezbat Khairallah area in Cairo to follow up on an initiative supervised by the British Council aiming to empower women and youth and improve the lives of needy families.

During her visit to the country, the duchess will focus on women’s empowerment and will be briefed on the stories of Egyptian female leaders as well as matriarchs supporting their families.

This is the third visit for Prince Charles to Egypt. He visited the country in 1981 and 2006.

Earlier in the week, the royal couple visited Jordan as part of the first overseas tour by a senior member of the royal family during the pandemic.

The couple are scheduled to visit Alexandria to further celebrate Egypt’s ancient culture.

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