International community's response to Gaza aggression is disappointing and frustrating: Al-Azhar Grand Imam to UN’s Guterres

Ahram Online , Sunday 24 Mar 2024

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb said the international community's response to the aggression on Gaza has been disappointing and frustrating, unlike that of the people in Western societies in Europe and the US.

 Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb.
Egypt s Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb. Photo courtesy of Al-Azhar Facebook page.


El-Tayeb held a meeting on the developments in Gaza at Al-Azhar headquarters with Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), and Elena Panova, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt.

During the meeting, El-Tayeb reiterated that what is happening in Gaza threatens to undermine the efforts of communication and rapprochement that have been ongoing for years between East and West.

He noted that the international community's response to the aggression on Gaza has been disappointing and frustrating, unlike the response from people.

In this regard, the Grand Imam highlighted the fairness shown by Western societies and even by some fair-minded Jews, who have come out demanding an end to the aggression on Gaza.

Furthermore, El-Tayeb welcomed Guterres to the premises of Al-Azhar, praising his courageous stances in supporting the Palestinian cause, his advocation for justice and human rights in Gaza, and his clear warnings to the world about the dangers of this aggression.

He also commended the significant efforts made by the UNRWA towards refugees fleeing the aggression.

"We assure you that we, scholars, professors, students, and affiliates of Al-Azhar, support your positions and will not abandon our support. We know well that you feel the pain and sadness as we do, and we have nothing but to rely on the Almighty, while your stances and those of leaders and fair-minded individuals represent a glimmer of hope in protecting the oppressed and the afflicted in Gaza," El-Tayeb stated.

Similarly, the Grand Imam emphasized that the world is heading in the wrong direction without humanitarian rules or ethical standards.

He stressed that if the current situation continues, the world will witness an unprecedented spread of crime, hatred, destruction, and wars, stressing that the West will not be immune to the spread of such phenomena. Therefore, unity and solidarity are necessary to stop the torrents of innocent blood being shed every hour, El-Tayeb noted.

In return, the UN Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for the Grand Imam's efforts in promoting peace and solidarity.

Guterres also stressed that he was determined to exert pressure on the international community to respect the rights of Palestinians and alleviate their suffering. In addition, he spoke about his visit to Rafah crossing on Saturday to affirm the importance of the immediate cessation of hostilities and urge the international community to fulfil its duties through actions, not just words.

“On the other side of the Palestinian border, I saw Palestinians suffering from food and water shortages and the spread of various infectious diseases. We must all shed light on this suffering and stop it immediately; it is our collective responsibility," Guterres stated.

Moreover, he pointed out that Islamophobia has significantly evolved, aided by modern technological advancements, and has become one of the most widespread forms of discrimination and hatred.

Guterres also noted that the world is currently witnessing the highest levels of hatred and violence, citing the situations in Sudan, Gaza, Ukraine, and scattered parts of Africa.

"I do not recall a more dangerous period than what we are experiencing now," he said, adding that he emphasized his continued support for justice in Gaza and that no one can silence or muzzle his voice.

At the end of the meeting, the Grand Imam presented Antonio Guterres with a shield from the Council of Muslim Elders as a token of appreciation from Al-Azhar and all wise individuals in the Islamic world for his courageous stances towards innocent Palestinians in Gaza and for his efforts in combating Islamophobia.

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