Egyptian Muslim leader repeats demand for papal apology
April 13, 2011
The head of Egypt’s Al Azhar University has renewed his insistence that Pope Benedict XVI must apologize for his alleged insults to Islam before inter-religious dialogue can resume.
Sheik Ahmed El Tayeb, the grand imam of the university that is regarded as the foremost institution of learning in the Sunni Islamic world, told Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, the apostolic nuncio in Egypt, that Al Azhar would not continue its bilateral talks with the Vatican until the Pope apologizes. Al Azhar officials broke off the talks with Rome in an angry response to Pope Benedict's January statement that the Egyptian government should ensure the security of Coptic Christians, who had been subjected to a series of attacks. El Tayeb charged that the Pope's statement was "unacceptable interference" in Egypt's affairs. Vatican officials later pointed out that the Egyptian leader seemed to be basing his complaint on an inaccurate translation of the Pope's statement.
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