Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and German president discuss combating Islamophobia

Ahram Online , Monday 11 Sep 2023

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb and President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier discussed in Berlin ways to combat the rising wave of Islamophobia in Europe and ways to promote interfaith dialogue in societies, Al-Azhar announced.

Al-Tayyeb and Steinmeier
Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayyeb in his meeting with the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on Sunday. Photo: Al-Ahram


El-Tayyeb stressed in the meeting that Al-Azhar stands firmly against attacks on any religion.

Al-Azhar, the world’s leading Sunni Islamic institution, believes it is necessary to address recent incidents, such as the burnings of the Quran and attacks on churches and persecution of Christians, for instance in Pakistan, he added.

The only way to overcome the crises of contemporary humanity is through dialogue and the promotion of a culture of coexistence, replacing bigotry and hatred.

El-Tayyeb also expressed his appreciation for Germany's significant support to refugees, including hosting millions of displaced people, setting an example of cross-continental humanitarian brotherhood.

During the meeting, the grand imam emphasized that Al-Azhar is dedicated to spreading the values of peace and human brotherhood.

Locally, Al-Azhar has initiated several projects, including the Egyptian Family House in collaboration with Egyptian churches, to stand against hatred and sectarianism.

Globally, he pointed out that Al-Azhar signed the Document on Human Fraternity with His Holiness Pope Francis in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

For his part, the German president expressed his deep appreciation for the grand imam’s visit.

He commended the grand imam's significant efforts in promoting coexistence, brotherhood, and equality.

The president also acknowledged the fraternal relationship between the grand imam and Pope Francis. This relationship has paved the way for closer ties, dialogue, and communication between different cultures and religions, he explained.

He affirmed his country's commitment to combating Islamophobia.

Steinmeier also expressed his personal willingness to work alongside the grand imam to eliminate all forms of bigotry and hatred while strengthening dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures.

El-Tayyeb is in Berlin to attend Audacity of Peace, an international meeting for peace, religions, and culture in dialogue 10-12 September. It is being organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio, an international Catholic lay movement that promotes dialogue and inter-religious cooperation.

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