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EGYPT: Anglican Archbishops Meet With the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar

EGYPT: Anglican Archbishops Meet With the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar
Modernity advanced the world but led to the spiritual poverty of human beings
Meeting was characterized by frank and collegial discussion.

Diocese of Egypt
November 6, 2015

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed el-Tayyeb, welcomed a group of archbishops from the Anglican Church, to his office. These archbishops were: Bolly Lapok of Southeast Asia, Daniel Deng of Sudan, Henry Isingoma of Congo, Foley Beach of North America, Glenn Davies of Sydney, Charlie Masters of Canada, and Mouneer Anis of Egypt. The Grand Imam expressed his appreciation for the brotherly relations with the Anglican Church in Egypt. He also stressed the importance of the partnership and collegiality between religious leaders for the common good of humanity.

"It is important that we work together to overcome the challenges that are facing the world," Dr. El-Tayyeb said. "In the 1930s Sheik Maraghi sent a message out to all religious leaders. In it he said, 'Atheists are united, we are not'. The danger is that division between religious leaders is almost always politically backed. Instead of leading to better humanity, politicized religion leads to wars."

The Grand Imam expressed his appreciation for the Christians of the East because they hold on to the teachings of Christ. He said it is true what some people say, "When Christianity moved from this region [the Middle East] to the West, it didn't make the West Christian, it made Christianity Western." He said Western human rights organizations try to put pressure on religious authority to accept same-sex marriage and homosexual practice but we as Muslims as well as Christians in the East are standing against this. "Unfortunately, Western civilization sees this issue as an issue of human rights, not a moral or ethical deviation," he added. "I personally see this as an insult to [the teaching of] Jesus Christ by one of His own churches."

When asked about the use of the word "Allah" by Christians, he said Allah is One and is the Creator of the whole universe and that all human beings can use His name whether they be Christians, Muslims, Jews, or even Atheists. It is extremist groups that lie behind the banning of the use of the name Allah by non-Muslims.

The archbishops expressed their wishes that Al-Azhar would play a role in combating false Islamic teaching that is propagated by extremists, especially in Africa. Archbishop Daniel Deng expressed his thanks for the Grand Imam's statements that have brought moderation into Sudanese society and saved lives. In response, the Grand Imam stated that Al-Azhar is committed to correcting such false teachings which often lead to terrorism and violence.


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