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Vatican seeks resumption of talks with Egyptian Islamic institution

May 23, 2011

Vatican officials have met with Egyptian foreign minister Nabil al-Arabi, and told him that they hope for a resumption of talks with the prestigious Islamic institution, the Al Azhar University.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, met with Nabil al-Arabi, who doubles as secretary-general of the Arab League. The Vatican official conveyed greetings to Sheik Ahmad al Tayyib, the head of Al Azhar, and expressed a desire to overcome the tensions that have caused a break in the dialogue between the Vatican and the Egyptian university. The Egyptian official agreed that it would be desirable to resume the theological talks.

Al Azhar University, which had been engaged in regular talks with the Vatican, broke off those discussions earlier this year in protest after Pope Benedict XVI denounced the violence against Christians in Egypt. The Muslim institution charged that the Pope was “interfering” in the internal affairs of Egypt, and demanded a change in Vatican attitudes as a precondition for resuming talks.


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  • Posted by: rpp - May. 23, 2011 5:47 PM ET USA

    "Sure, we'll talk to you. But only if you stop criticizing us for killing your people. We need to be able to kill them with impunity and your constant complaining about us killing a few thousand people every year is tiresome and does not contribute to mutual understanding. Besides, it may give some people the impression that the mere presence of Christians does not provide sufficient justification for violence against them by certain Muslims."