His Eminence Prof. Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, met at his residence in London with Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Britain and Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. At the beginning of the meeting, the Grand Imam expressed the hope that the meeting would be a further step in consolidating the cooperation between Al-Azhar and Britain in support of the values of peace, dialogue and coexistence. He pointed out that there is a similarity in the visions concerning the need for confronting terrorism and countering extremism, especially since the West is no longer immune from terrorist acts, which requires concerted efforts from all. The Grand Imam further mentioned that Al-Azhar has established an observatory for combating extremism, and that, every year, Al-Azhar receives hundreds of imams from all over the world to train them to counter extremist ideology and provide them with the values of moderation upheld by Al-Azhar.
On his part, Tony Blair expressed his happiness for meeting the Grand Imam, pointing out that Al-Azhar enjoys a great status, not only among Muslims, but in the whole world, as it is the first reference of Muslim world, and the message that Al-Azhar delivers is very essential. Al-Azhar represents the true Islam and this is very necessary due to the current loud voice of the extremists. Blair also showed that Al-Azhar has unique potentials in confronting terrorism. There has established its International Observatory for Combating Extremism, which combines more than 100 scholars, working in 12 different languages, and collecting all possible data that may be then analyzed and used in peace and policy making.
The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar has arrived last Thursday in Britain for a several-day visit to participate in the "Emerging Peacemakers Forum” organized by Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, in cooperation with the Muslim Council of Elders and the Archbishop of Canterbury.