Egypt s Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayyeb met on Tuesday with President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions that will kick off on Wednesday (photo courtesy of the official Facebook page of Al-Azhar)
El-Tayyeb arrived a day earlier in the Asian nation to take part in the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
A statement by Al-Azhar said that El-Tayyeb will deliver a keynote speech at the opening session of the conference, which will be held on Wednesday and Thursday under the title ‘The Role of Religious Leaders in the Spiritual and Social Development of Humanity in the Post-Covid-19 pandemic Period.’
The grand imam, who is leading a high-level Egyptian delegation of Al-Azhar scholars, had received an official invitation from President Tokayev to participate in the two-day event at the Kazakhstani capital Nur-Sultan.
El-Tayyeb's meeting with the Kazakhstani president is the first in a series of scheduled meetings with Muslim religious scholars and leaders of other religions participating in the conference.
During the meeting, the grand imam said the international religious summit is meant to consolidate the culture of coexistence and dialogue, noting that the forum has become a global platform representing the voice of religion in the face of world crises and contemporary challenges.
The religious congress was first held in 2003 with the aim of achieving mutual respect and tolerance between religions, nations and ethnic groups, as well as establishing peace, harmony and tolerance as the unshakable principles of human existence.
El-Tayyeb stressed the deep historical relations between Al-Azhar and Kazakhstan, which were established through mutual academic, cultural and advocacy exchanges.
He also asserted that Al-Azhar is ready to fully support Kazakhstan through scholarships and specialised training for imams, as well as through the efforts of the Muslim Council of Elders (MCE), which is headed by El-Tayyeb.
The MCE, the grand imam added, promotes peace and fraternity and enforces the role of the youth in building interfaith bridges of communication and respect, according to a statement released by Al-Azhar following the meeting.
El-Tayyeb welcomed Kazakhstani imams joining Al-Azhar International Academy for the Training of Imams and Preachers to hone their communication skills and learn ways to address contemporary problems and debunk the ideologies of extremist groups.
President Tokayev stressed that Kazakhstan appreciates the efforts of the grand imam in spreading the sound image of Islam, confronting extremism and promoting the principles of human fraternity regionally and globally.
He added that the Kazakh people are keenly following the grand imam’s efforts in the East and the West, and that such efforts have achieved considerable global resonance in confronting Islamophobia and promoting intercultural and inter-ethnic dialogue.
Tokayev also indicated that the whole world, not only Muslim countries, is aware of the value of Al-Azhar, noting that Egypt, through Al-Azhar, has provided great support for Kazakhstan in adopting moderate Islam, Al-Azhar's statement added.
This support has been provided to Kazakh students enrolled at Al-Azhar and who returned home to promote the values they had learned in their community, he said.
“This moderate Islam is based on respect for the other, promoting the values of coexistence among all, and renouncing violence, hatred and intolerance,” he added.
President Tokayev asserted that Kazakh society’s need for Al-Azhar is constantly increasing. He also expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Council of Muslim Elders in promoting peace and tolerance.
Following the meeting, El-Tayyeb led the ‘Dhuhr’ prayer at Hazrat al-Sultan Mosque, the largest mosque in Kazakhstan and one of the largest mosques in Asia, in the presence of Islamic delegations participating the conference.