"We appreciate the role of Al-Azhar and the efforts of the Grand Imam in establishing the value of peace and spreading inter-civilization dialogue. We should not confuse Islam with terrorism," the French Prime Minister states in a meeting with Al-Azhar Grand Imam.
His eminence Al-Azhar Grand Imam, Dr Ahmad Al-Tayyeb received today morning the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls and his accompanying delegation, to enhance the relationship between Al-Azhar and France and to brief France on the latest efforts exerted by Al-Azhar on all levels.
In this regard, Al-Azhar Grand Imam said that Al-Azhar has cultural, scientific and historical relationships with France, adding that some of Al-Azhar prominent figures had been graduated from top French universities, and emphasizing that Al-Azhar appreciates France's support to Egypt and its Armed Forces in combating terrorism which became a phenomenon threatening the international security and stability.
His eminence, Dr Al-Tayyeb shed light on the efforts exerted by Al-Azhar and the considerable steps it takes to renew its curricula, in order to create a new generation of al-Azhar graduates who are able to deal with the latest developments. Al-Azhar Grand Imam referred to the establishment of Al-Azhar Observer in Foreign Languages and its role in monitoring the misguided ideas and deviant opinions on Islam spread by terrorist ISIS and the other armed groups. The Grand Imam added that Al-Aztar’s qualified scholars assumed the responsibility for answering this deviant thought and Al-Azhar Observer, on its part, is responsible for translating these answers into different languages and spreading them on a large scale. Al-Tayyeb, furthermore, talked about the international conferences and symposia held by Al-Azhar, as well as the efforts exerted by Egypt Family House which brings Muslims and Christians together in one national frame.
In the same context, the Grand Imam informed the French Prime Minster of the outstanding role of Al-Azhar in communicating with all the world's countries through delegating, in collaboration with the Muslim Council of Elders presided over by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Peace Envoys to the world's different countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and America, in order to reinforce social peace and to warn youth against the dangers of the deviant ideologies of the terrorist organizations. Al-Tayyeb also shed light on his various European tours which aimed at reinforcing the values of peace, justice and mercy among different countries and nations, as well as the role of the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG) and its branches to disseminate Al-Azhar’s moderate thought.
In relation to youth, Dr Al-Tayyeb stressed that Al-Azhar works on protecting youth from falling prey to the dangers of the deviant thought, explaining that Al-Azhar is ready to train the French Imams in accordance with a particular training program which meets the requirements of the French society, deepens the spirit of belonging, qualifies them to face today's challenges and implants in them the true teachings of Islam which Al-Azhar is responsible for over one thousand years ago.
His Eminence Dr Al-Tayyeb added that the extremist thought is strange to our Arab world and Muslim communities, pointing out that Al-Azhar has warned since the very beginning about the dangers posed by the groups which carry weapons against others in the name of Islam such as ISIS, which rapidly and violently emerged; a matter which shocks and surprises us. He stated also that what is going on in our region is the outcome of international policies and that moneys spent on war should be allocated for the war-affected poor in some Arab countries.
On his part, the French Prime Minister said that this visit was an opportunity to stress our strategic relationship with Egypt in order to form a common view about the world events to counter terrorism, expressing his reverence for Al-Azhar and the efforts exerted by the Grand Imam to promote the values of peace and intercultural dialogue.
The Prime Minister also stressed that France is fully convinced that it is necessary to cooperate with Al-Azhar to promote the tolerance and moderation of Islam, sustain the culture of peaceful coexistence among different people and combat the extremist groups. He also emphasized the fact that Islam should not be confused with terrorism and that discriminating the refugees on religious basis should be ended, adding, "We suffer because there is no one voice to represent Islam in France. And we support the idea of training and rehabilitating the Imams working in France so that they can combat the extremist deviant thought and protect the young people from falling prey for the armed groups.