A file photo of Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb. Photo: AP
In a recent statement, El-Tayeb reiterated Al-Azhar’s condemnation of all forms of disrespect for the Quran and Islam, and framed current events as an impetus to pan-Muslim unity.
“Al-Azhar expresses its hope that this inhumane and uncivilized incident, and others like it, will be the greatest incentive to heal rifts and unite Muslims around the globe to stand up to the challenge of those who assail their security, and mock their sanctities, without the least respect for their religious feelings,” said the sheikh.
El-Tayeb also confirmed in his statement his determination to move forward in holding an "Islamic-Islamic" dialogue between Islamic scholars of all countries and sects, united against contempt for the faith.
The Grand Imam also noted that he had recently received a letter from Ayatollah Alireza Arafi, head of Iran’s most influential Shia seminary, thanking him for Al-Azhar’s condemnation of insults against Islam’s holy book.
“The prominent position of noble Egypt and its forums of religious knowledge, especially Al-Azhar University, is prestigious, decisive, and inspiring,” said Arafi.
The Grand Imam replied to the Ayatollah with his sincere appreciation for the gesture.
El-Tayeb, who heads the world’s most influential Sunni institution, has been vocal since the beginning of the Quran-burning incidents in Sweden and Denmark in recent weeks.
The sheikh has called for a broad boycott of both countries’ products.
“Al-Azhar also renewed its call to all Arab and Islamic peoples to continue boycotting all Swedish and Danish products in support of Allah and His Holy Book.” Said El-Tayeb in his statement on Tuesday.