Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar – the highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning – discussed international peace with Roman Catholic Pope Francis at the papal headquarters in the Vatican on Tuesday.
In a speech at an international forum in Rome titled East and West: Towards Civilized Dialogue, El-Tayyeb said that he aims to do all that is necessary to promote the notion of global coexistence.
El-Tayyeb asserted that all religions prohibit bloodshed, stressing that Muslims have suffered the most from terrorism.
He added that wars that are said to have been caused by religion were in actuality sparked by the politicisation of religion and exploitation by clerics to serve certain interests.
While in Rome, the Grand Imam is scheduled to meet with a number of top Italian officials, including Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, to discuss "efforts to spread a culture of coexistence and peace and renounce violence, hatred and intolerance," Al-Azhar said in a statement.
On the sidelines of the gathering, Muslim clerics and members of the Muslim Council of Elders, which El-Tayeb chairs, will take part in a panel discussion on "Religions and the Nation State."
The Muslim Council of Elders, an independent international body, was founded in 2014 with the aim of promoting peace in Muslim communities.