Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb said Muslim clerics were developing efforts in opposing extremist religious thought through reinforcing values of tolerance and the acceptance of the “other”, in a Tuesday briefing with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
According to a presidential statement, the Grand Imam highlighted the importance of enhancing values of citizenship, freedom, and social and cultural diversity, in accordance with reshaping a religious discourse that upholds the tolerant principles of the Islamic religion.
Efforts aimed at renewing the religious discourse come within a campaign aimed at confronting terrorism, amid attacks that took place in Egypt in recent years, namely deadly bombing of churches.
The two parties further discussed means of boosting the role of Al-Azhar’s commissioners abroad and the increase in scholarships offered by Al-Azhar to foreigners.
The meeting asserted the necessity of respecting other’s beliefs and the religious variety.
Al-Azhar faced a storm of criticism following the attack on two churches during Palm Sunday celebrations early in April, which claimed the lives of 45 people and injured dozens.
Criticism against Al-Azhar has increased by public figures and media outlets after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s speech, which asserted the need to renew religious rhetoric and form a new body to fight terrorism.