File Photo: Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's Al-Azhar issued a statement on Saturday expressing its deep concern about the wave of sectarian violence India has been witnessing in the past week because of the country's new citizenship law.
India's new law grants citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants only coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan before 2015.
Al-Azhar called for the prevalence of the values of citizenship and the inclusion of all, and the rejection of all forms of religious and racial discrimination.
Egypt's top religious institution expressed its confidence in India's ability to resolve the crisis once the culture of dialogue and the principles of coexistence prevailed.
Al-Azhar pointed out in its statement that Muslims in India are the second largest group of Muslims globally, and that they have been an important part of what India's history.
Al-Azhar brought to attention its statement issued last December in which it warned against the consequences of excluding Muslims from the new Indian citizenship law.
It said that the new law was an unexpected blow since India "has always been an example of religious pluralism and acceptance of the other."
Earlier last week riots broke out in the Indian capital New Delhi. Clashes between Hindus and Muslims left at least 40 dead and hundreds injured.
For months tensions had been building between Hindus and Muslims protesting against the citizenship law and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policies. However, this wave of violence exploded last Sunday on the eve of US President Donald Trump's first state visit to India.
Egypt's Al-Azhar extended its condolences to the families of the victims, and wished the injured a speedy recovery.