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Pope Meets Sheikh al-Azhar in Rome, Calls for Dialogue and Peace

Pope Meets Sheikh al-Azhar in Rome, Calls for Dialogue and Peace

Wednesday, 8 November, 2017 - 06:45
Pope Francis greets Ahmed el-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt's al-Azhar mosque and university, during a private meeting in 2016 at the Vatican. (Reuters)

Pope Francis called on Tuesday for spreading peace, love and coexistence between humans, while also combating the factors that incite war.

The Pontiff met in Rome with Grand Imam of Egypt's al-Azhar mosque Sheikh Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb during which he urged dialogue between religions and promoted peace.

Sheikh al-Azhar was in Rome to attend the third edition of the “East and West dialogues of civilization” forum.

The two officials stressed that they will continue their efforts to spread the culture of coexistence between the different peoples of the world and they will continue to advocate the values of peace, tolerance, justice and equality.

Al-Azhar said in a statement: “The meeting focused on joint efforts to support global peace, especially after the International Peace Conference that was hosted by al-Azhar in April.”

Pope Francis had taken part in the concluding session of the conference and he had also held talks with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

Regional sectarian conflicts and religious and racial persecution were at the heart of Tuesday’s talks between the pope and Sheikh al-Azhar.

Dr. al-Tayeb stressed that religion had nothing to do with the calls for violence and extremism. For his part, the pope called for spreading peace, not inciting crises.

A source from al-Azhar said that the religious leaders underscored the need to shun hate and violence and stand against terrorism and extremists. They also underlined the need to take the necessary steps to eliminate these phenomena.

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