The President of the Federal Republic of Germany, His Excellency Frank-Walter Steinmeier, welcomed His Eminence, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and the Head of the Muslim Council of the Elders, Prof. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, during their meeting in Berlin. Their discussions primarily revolved around combating Islamophobia in Europe, addressing issues related to religious sanctities, and tackling the unfortunate phenomenon of hostility towards Islam and Muslims.
The Grand Imam, in his remarks, expressed Al-Azhar Al-Sharif’s unwavering commitment to promoting the values of peace and human fraternity both locally and globally. At a global level, Al-Azhar has initiated several significant endeavors, most notably the Egyptian Family House in collaboration with Egyptian churches. This project has played a pivotal role in fostering national unity against hatred and bigotry.
Of paramount importance was the Grand Imam’s reference to Al-Azhar’s landmark achievement: the signing of the historic Human Fraternity Document with His Holiness Pope Francis of the Vatican in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in 2019. This groundbreaking document conveys a message of goodwill to the entire world. His Eminence commended the Document’s content, emphasizing that it transcends religious boundaries and is a joint effort between Al-Azhar and the Vatican to benefit humanity. It contains clear directives to protect the environment, places of worship, and the rights of vulnerable groups, including children, women, refugees, migrants, the impoverished, and marginalized populations.
The Grand Imam underscored Al-Azhar’s principled stance of impartiality towards all religions, emphasizing its commitment to dialogue, coexistence, and integration as the antidotes to contemporary crises. This commitment was exemplified by Al-Azhar’s resolute opposition to the desecration of the Holy Qur’an and its clear condemnation of attacks on churches and Christians in Pakistan.
The Grand Imam expressed sincere appreciation for Germany’s substantial support of refugees and its compassionate welcome to millions of vulnerable individuals fleeing conflicts and wars. He lauded Berlin for setting an exemplary standard of transcontinental human fraternity, rooted in a profound belief in the plight of those displaced from their homelands.
President Steinmeier, in response, extended his warm greetings to the Grand Imam and expressed deep appreciation for the visit, particularly during this critical time. He praised the Grand Imam’s tireless efforts in advancing values of tolerance, fraternity, and equality among all people. The President also commended the Grand Imam’s fraternal relationship with Pope Francis of the Vatican, highlighting how it has paved the way for greater understanding and dialogue between diverse cultures and religions.
President Steinmeier affirmed Germany’s unwavering commitment to combatting Islamophobia and vehemently denounced hate rhetoric targeting Islam and Muslims. He underlined Germany’s prompt condemnation of incidents involving the burning of the Quran and its resolute rejection of any form of discrimination against Islam and its followers. The President expressed a strong desire to collaborate with the Grand Imam in eradicating all forms of prejudice and hatred while promoting interreligious dialogue among individuals from various faiths and cultures.
In conclusion of the meeting, President Steinmeier thanked the Grand Imam for his pivotal initiatives in promoting tolerance and interreligious and intercultural dialogue, including the Human Fraternity Document, the Egyptian Family House, and the Abrahamic Family House. This meeting between the German President and the Grand Imam highlights the shared commitment to fostering global harmony, understanding, and peace.