- I am immensely pleased by this initiative that seeks to repair what terrorism and extremism have damaged
- All faiths have agreed that civilizations, no matter how diverse or different they are, are integral to each other in such a way that is free from enmity or clash.
- The aggression perpetrated against human heritage is a crime against morality and civilization and is denounced by all religions, traditions and people's general attitude.
- For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar's minarets have been there, surrounded by the Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic monuments.
- Never has history told us that a Muslim scholar attempted to do harm to such monuments or even issued a verdict by which they would be destroyed.
- This initiative comes from two honorable countries whose efforts cannot be denied in establishing and preserving this human heritage
- I wish success for this forum, and I hope that we all shall cooperate together to eliminate the barbaric actions that threaten human security and cultural and civilizational heritage of humanity.
His Eminence Prof. Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, sent a message in support of the conference of “Protecting the Cultural Heritage under Threat” – hosted by Abu Dhabi, 2-3 December, under the auspices of UNESCO.
The Grand Imam expressed his sincere gratitude and deep appreciation of such initiatives that embody the true meaning of human values and civilization through a meeting that brings the East together with the West at this conference which seeks to repair the damage that has been caused by terrorism and the destruction and obliteration that has been brought about by barbaric terrorism against the cultural heritage which is a heritage for successive generations and which is a common ownership of all people.
Al-Tayyeb said that the Divinely Faiths were revealedto elevate human morals and lead man to the zenith of civilization and development, and that, in light of these messages, human civilizations have developedin such a way that reflects great past and appreciation for makers of history at all ages. "All religions agree that civilizations regardless of their religious, ethnic or language differences, have to meet together through phases that represent sublime communication, free from any hatred or enmity so as to benefit from one another and make the common grounds as pillars of peace and cultural enrichment." He added.
The Grand Imam affirmed that the aggression perpetrated by these evil groups against human heritage is a crime against morality and civilization and is denounced by all religions and international laws, stating that what is approved by religions is to ponder over these monuments to learn lessons of wisdom and admonition.
Al-Tayyeb pointed out that Islamic studies have been taught for over a thousand years at Al-Azhar which has always been surrounded by the Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic antiquities, and that history has never told us that a Muslim scholar attempted to do harm to such monuments or even issued a verdict by which they would be destroyed. He added, "On the contrary, history tells us that when the Prophet’s Companions, led by Amr bin Al-A’s, arrived in Egypt, they neither destroyed such monuments, nor issued fatwas that permit its destruction."
"I myself was born in Al-Qurnah village in western Luxor amidst the well-known temples and monuments of the city, and it was in Al-Azhar religious institutes where I received my education through great Azharischolars who never advised us to bring about harm to these monuments, and it was even the habit of most of them to pay regular visits to their sites," said the Grand Imam.
Al-Tayyeb also expressed his appreciation of this human and civilizational initiative to hold such international forum that aims at an international mobilization to protect this heritage, stating that France is the country of literature, culture, freethinking and arts, and that the UAE - the country of Arabism- that spares no efforts in the cause of progress of human being and preserving their cultural and civilizational identity.
The Grand Imam declared Al-Azhar's support of this conference, reaffirming that the historical monuments are human heritage that should be preserved and maintained, and therefore Islam completely denounces and criminalizes what these terrorist groups do, including the destruction of civilizational heritage, considering it a great crime against the whole world.
"While these terror groups cause destruction to this cultural and civilizational heritage under the pretext of religion, I – having spent my whole life studying and teaching Islamic studies at Al-Azhar - affirm that Islam never calls for committing such barbarian acts. On contrary, it calls all people to travel through the land and observe the heritage of the previous nations. The previous experiences of humanity greatly contribute to the experiences of peoples and help them achieve their interests," said Al-Tayyeb.
At the conclusion of his message, the Grand Imam expressed his deep thanks for the organizers of the event, wishing themsuccess, and voicing his hopes for mutual cooperation to eliminate theses barbaric actions that threaten human security and cultural and civilizational heritage.