Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders Meets the President of Germany to Enhance Dialogue between Different Religions and Cultures
German President: Germany Appreciates the Efforts of the Grand Imam in Promoting Interfaith Dialogue and Human Fraternity
*German President: Germany Is Eager to Combat Islamophobia and Reduce Hostility Towards Islam and Muslims*
His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders has met Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of the German Republic, to discuss ways to combat the increasing Islamophobia in Europe, and to address the defamation of religious sanctities. The meeting was attended by Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders.
The Grand Imam emphasized that Al-Azhar is keen on spreading the values of peace and human fraternity both locally and globally. On the global level, Al-Azhar has launched several initiatives, foremost among them being the Egyptian Family House, in collaboration with various Egyptian churches which has been a cohesive and fortified national movement against hatred and bigotry.
His Eminence added that Al-Azhar has taken significant steps in promoting global peace. The crowning achievement of these efforts being the historic signing of the Document on Human Fraternity alongside His Holiness Pope Francis in Abu Dhabi in 2019 which was a message of goodwill to the entire world. The Grand Imam pointed out that anyone who scrutinizes the language of the document will not be able to discern whether it was written by a Muslim or Christian since it was a sincere endeavor where the visions of Al-Azhar and the Vatican unified for the sake of humanity in order to achieve happiness and avoiding its suffering.
The Grand Imam also emphasized that Al-Azhar stands unequivocally against any attack on any religion, whether Islamic sanctities or those of other religions. Just as Al-Azhar stood against incidents of burning the Quran, it also had a clear stance against the burning of churches and attacks on Christians in Pakistan. This underscores a genuine and firmly held belief that there is no way to overcome the crises of contemporary humanity except through dialogue, and that a culture of rapprochement, coexistence, and integration should prevail over bigotry and hatred.
His Eminence also expressed his appreciation for Germany’s significant support for refugees, its welcoming of them, which set an example of human fraternity and a clear conviction towards those who left their homelands and families due to wars and conflicts.
For his part, the German President expressed his appreciation for the important visit of the Grand Imam that comes at a crucial time. He added that he personally values and closely follows the great efforts of the Grand Imam in promoting coexistence, fraternity, and equality among all people. He also highlighted his appreciation for the fraternal relationship between the Grand Imam and Pope Francis, noting that this relationship has opened channels of dialogue and communication between different cultures and religions.
The German President further affirmed his country’s commitment to combating Islamophobia, reducing hostility towards Islam and Muslims by condemning incidents of burning the Quran on several occasions and rejecting extremist practices towards Islam and Muslims. He affirmed his personal readiness to work with the Grand Imam to eliminate all forms of bigotry and hatred and to promote dialogue between followers of different religions and cultures.