Egypt's Al-Azhar fully supports Somalia in preserving territorial unity: Sheikh El-Tayyeb

Ahram Online , Saturday 20 Jan 2024

Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, announced on Saturday the Sunni Islamic institution’s complete solidarity with Somalia in preserving its territorial unity, condemning external attempts to destabilize it, in his meeting with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud in Cairo.

 Al-Azhar   Sheikh Ahmed
Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar welcomes Somali President Sheikh Mohamud before their meeting on Saturday 20 January, 2024. Photo courtesy of Al-Azhar.


Somali President Sheikh Mohamud, who arrived in Cairo for a two-day official visit on Saturday as per an invitation from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, started his visit with a meeting with Sheikh El-Tayyeb.

According to Al-Azhar statement, the meeting aimed to discuss ways to enhance the scientific and advocacy support of Al-Azhar for the Somali people.

El-Tayyeb welcomed the Somali president to the premises of Al-Azhar, confirming the depth of the historical relationship between Somalia and Al-Azhar.

This relationship has been strengthened through Al-Azhar scholars who were sent to Somalia and the Somali students who played a significant role in shaping the contours of this historical relationship, he added.

El-Tayyeb pointed out that there are currently 2200 Somali students studying at various educational levels at Al-Azhar.

Al-Azhar offers 70 scholarships annually to Somali students, and there is an Azhar Institute with 26 Azhari emissaries in Somalia.

Sheikh El-Tayyeb reiterated Al-Azhar's readiness to allocate a portion of Al-Azhar scholarships for Somali students to study sciences, medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, and engineering, alongside the study of Islamic and Arabic sciences to meet the needs of the Somali people.

On his part, Sheikh Mahmoud expressed his delight at the visit of his eminence the grand imam for the second time and his presence at Al-Azhar, praising the significant efforts of El-Tayyeb in promoting the culture of coexistence, global peace, and human brotherhood and confronting extremist ideologies.

Sheikh Mahmoud extended an official invitation to the grand imam to visit Somalia, affirming that this visit would be a significant historical event and a message of solidarity with the Somali people in the face of extremist groups.

During the visit , the Somali president briefed El-Tayyeb on the current situation in Somalia, noting that the country is engaged in a long battle against externally supported extremist groups trying to divide and destabilize the country.

He emphasized that war against these extremist ideologies is more critical than military warfare, and the Islamic Azharian thought is more important than tanks and military supplies used by Somalia in fighting these groups.

Through moderate Islamic Azharian thought, the youth of Somalia can be fortified with a preventive dose against extremist ideologies, he added.

The Somali president emphasized Somalia's urgent need for the Azharian approach and scholars, urging Sheikh El-Tayyeb to expand the establishment of Azharian institutes in Somalia, especially at the basic education levels.

Sheikh Mohamud and El-Tayyeb agreed to establish a mini-committee to examine the needs of Somalia.

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