- The Grand Imam and the Pope agreed to hold an international conference on peace.
The Grand Imam:
- We need to adopt common stances for the welfare of humanity
- Al-Azhar role at this particular moment is so crucial.
With worldwide welcome to this historical summit which marks the first of its kind, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders Prof. Ahmed El-Tayeb visits the Vatican. A meeting was held between the Grand Imam and Pope Francis at the Vatican, where both leaders focused on consolidate efforts between Al-Azhar and the Vatican to foster values of peace, dialogue, tolerance and coexistence among all peoples and countries in order to protect humanity against terrorism, violence, poverty and illness.
At the start, Pope Francis welcomed the Grand Imam and the accompanying delegation, expressing his appreciation for the visit and stressing that "we have a common message of peace tolerance and constructive dialogue." The pope added that the whole world puts hopes in religious figures and scholars and it is the burden of international religious institutions as Al-Azhar and the Vatican to make efforts for the happiness of humanity and to fight poverty, ignorance and illness.
Pope Francis added that he is observing the role of Al-Azhar in promoting peace, dialogue, coexistence and its efforts in fighting deviated thought, stressing that Al-Azhar role at this particular moment is so crucial.
On his part, the Grand Imam, said that we need to adopt common stances for the welfare of humanity, because Divine religions came to make people happy, not to distress them. His Eminence stressed that Al-Azhar, with all its departments, tries to promote moderation of Islam, and that Al-Azhar and its scholars do their best to spread the culture of peace and dialogue to face extremism. In cooperation with the Muslim Council of Elders, we send Peace Envoys to the whole world.
The two parties agreed to hold an international conference on peace and to restore dialogue between Al-Azhar and the Vatican. At the end of the visit, Pope Francis gave the Grand Imam a commemorative gift in appreciation of his visit.
The Grand Imam has arrived today morning to Rome on a private plane, and was received at the airport by a number of religious leaders from the Vatican.
The Grand Imam is accompanied by a high-level delegation from Al-Azhar scholars consisted of: Prof Dr. Abbas Shuman, the Deputy of Al-Azhar; Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Hamdi Zakzouk, member of the Council of Senior Scholars of Al-Azhar and Director of the Al-Azhar Center for Dialogue; Prof. Dr. Mohey al-Deen Afifi, the Secretary General of the Islamic Research Academy and Judge Mohammad Mahmoud Abdelsalam, Advisor to the Great Imam.