Top Sunni Muslim cleric meets with Pontiff
May 23, 2016
Pope Francis met on May 23 with Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt's Al Azhar University, and the two spiritual leaders underlined their mutual rejection of religious violence.
The 30-minute meeting was focused on "the common commitment of the authorities and faithful of the great religions to peace in the world, the rejection of violence and terrorism, the situation of Christians in the context of conflict and tension in the Middle East, and their protection," the Vatican announced after the meeting.
A spokesman for Al Azhar observed that the visit by Sheik el-Tayeb would help to "true Islam and correct misunderstandings created by terrorists and extremist groups." The imam's visit, he said, underlined a "message of tolerance."
Al Azhar, which is generally recognized as the foremost institution in the Sunni Muslim world, had engaged in regular exchanges with the Holy See until 2011, when the Egyptian clerics broke off relations to protest remarks by Pope Benedict XVI condemning suppression of Christians in Egypt. Plans to resume the regular exchanges were announced earlier this year.
The Egyptican cleric was accompanied by a large delegation, including Egypt's ambassador to the Holy See, Hatem Seif Elnasr. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, also met with the Egyptian imam.
- Audience with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (Vatican press office)
- Pope Francis receives Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in audience (Vatican Radio)
- Meeting between Pope Francis and the Imam of Al Azhar "for dialogue and peace in the world" (AsiaNews)
- Pope to meet with leading Sunni imam (CWN, 5/20)
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