His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar received yesterday France's Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian and the accompanying delegation at Al-Azhar Headquarters.
During the meeting, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar confirmed that all Muslims around the world, leaders and peoples, categorically reject terrorism perpetrated under the disguise of Islam, reiterating the fact that Islam and Muslims are entirely innocents of such heinous crimes. “Islam is not responsible for any abhorrent acts done in its name,” said Al-Tayyeb.
He also noted that Muslims are suffering most because of terrorism committed by followers of different religions, adding that Muslims readily admit that Christianity should never be blamed for New Zealand’s terrorist attack and that Islam should not, in return, be blamed for acts of killing falsely attributed to it.
Having been following up the official statements made by Franc’s officials in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks in France, the Grand Imam commended the statements made by Jean-Yves Le Drian and considered them rational and wise statements and thus deserve Al-Azhar’s admiration and appreciation.
“When it comes to insulting Islam and blaspheming its Prophet (ﷺ), I prefer to set facts crystal clear and not using diplomacy,” said the Grand Imam who confirmed his categorical rejection of any insults to Islam and its Prophet (ﷺ). He also expressed his considerable grief for these insults which hurt Muslims as much as they hurt France, since they flare up hatred among Islamic nations and Muslims around the globe towards France. He maintained that these insults are exploited by extremists who find in them pretexts for staging terrorist strikes against France and that France should practice pre-emptive measures to counter such terrorism by preventing its causes in the first place.
“If you consider blaspheming our Prophet as freedom of expression, then, we adamantly refuse this freedom and will take the perpetrators to international courts as a legal way to defend our honorable Prophet (ﷺ) who was sent as mercy for the worlds even if we would spend the rest of our lives doing so,” the Grand Imam said during the meeting. Moreover, His Eminence Prof. Al-Tayyeb called upon the countries advocating rights and freedoms to take positive steps to stop linking terrorism to Islam as this hurts the feelings of Muslims around the world.
At the end of the meeting, Al-Azhar Grand Imam declared Al-Azhar's readiness to cooperate with France in correcting the misconceptions about Islam and combating the extremist and radical thought creeping within the French communities. Al-Tayyeb added that Al-Azhar, which strives hard for promoting peace as the core principle in the Message of Islam, would incur the expenses and costs of this cooperation and would not look forward to any recompense nor gratitude.