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Al-Azhar Grand Imam receives an official invitation to attend the Interfaith Leaders’ Summit...
Mohamed Helal 513

Al-Azhar Grand Imam receives an official invitation to attend the Interfaith Leaders’ Summit...

Al-Azhar Grand Imam receives an official invitation to attend the Interfaith Leaders’ Summit on “Climate Change” in Rome

     The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof. Aḥmad Aṭ-Ṭayyeb, received an official invitation to attend the Interfaith Leaders’ Summit on “Climate Change”. The summit will be held by the British government, in the first week of October, in the capital of Italy, Rome. Prominent religious figures and political and religious leaders from various countries around the world will attend the summit.

     During his meeting with Sir Geoffrey Adams, the British ambassador to Egypt on Wednesday, June 2, 2021, the Grand Imam said, “Religions start from preserving the universe and the environment. The Holy Qur’ān includes many verses confirming that all creatures: humans, plants, animals and inanimate objects praise Allah. Almighty Allah says, ‘And there is not a thing except that it exalts (Allah) with His praise, but you do not understand their (way of) exalting.’ The verse confirms that everything in the universe has specific rights that must be respected.” His Eminence emphasized that our Islamic jurisprudence deals with such rights. On sending an army, Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) usually recommended his army to not kill any animal belonging to enemy’s army except when there is a need for food; and to not burn palm trees or disperse bees. The Imam pointed out that the Prophet (pbuh) was keen to show the necessity of preserving the rights of plants, animals and inanimate objects in various situations, all indicating Islam’s clear view on preserving creatures and maintaining ecological balance.

     The Grand Imam welcomed the British government’s invitation to the summit to discuss and exchange views on climate change. He stressed that this step is very important, and that some religious leaders have talked a lot about the need to protect the environment and the religions’ points of view in this regard. The Imam noted that all religions take the same clear position which is uninterpretable in any other sense, and affirms the need to preserve the environment and raise awareness in this regard. His eminence stressed that the world must always be reminded of this problem, and there must be an upper hand and a force that is not subject to political considerations or economic interests. Such hand should be responsible to preserving the environment, and tracking climate changes through studying, research and finding appropriate solutions to them.

     In another context, the Grand Imam praised the cooperation between Al-Azhar and the British Council, depicting such cooperation as fruitful. He stressed that it is necessary to work to benefit from the scientific cadres that have resulted from such cooperation. They are a new generation of Azhari students who obtained their basic education in the classes of Al-Azhar institutes and the ancient Al-Azhar University, then they joined British universities to acquire a large portion of Western curricula and theories of science in its various disciplines. His Eminence stressed that we all have a shared responsibility in qualifying these cadres to become community leaders in the near future.

     On his part, the British Ambassador to Egypt, Sir Geoffrey Adams said, “I was delighted to meet the Grand Imam, Prof. Aḥmad Aṭ-Ṭayyeb, today to discuss the UK’s cooperation with Al-Azhar in the field of climate and education, because climate change is an issue that concerns us all, whether we are politicians, religious leaders, or ordinary citizens. We encourage all organizations to play their role. We are keen to work with Al-Azhar, to identify ways of cooperation and enhance the efforts of religions to raise awareness of this global challenge.”

     The ambassador added, “We discussed joint projects in education, where the United Kingdom offers scholarships to those wishing to study there. We support Al-Azhar in its aspirations to strengthen ties between different religions and cultures, which helps build a safer, more prosperous and tolerant society.”

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