Any ”religious dialogue” with an Islamic leader is just an opportunity to advance Islamic hegemony.
Azhar imam to urge tolerance in historic pope meeting
Cairo (AFP) – The deputy of Al-Azhar’s grand imam in Egypt said on Sunday the top Muslim cleric will bear a message of tolerance when he meets Pope Francis in Rome.
Monday’s meeting will be the first between the leader of the world’s Catholics and one of Islam’s most important clerics.
Abbas Shuman, deputy to grand imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, told AFP on Sunday that Francis’s gestures towards Muslims encouraged Tayeb to meet the pope after falling out with his predecessor Benedict XVI.
“If it were not for these good positions (by Pope Francis) the meeting would not be happening,” Shuman said.
Ties between the Vatican and Al-Azhar, one of Islam’s most prestigious centres of learning, soured in 2006 when Benedict delivered a speech interpreted as linking the Muslim Prophet Mohammed to violence.
Relations have steadily improved since Francis became pope in 2013 with inter-faith dialogue near the top of his agenda.
He underlined this improvement in ties with a personal message to the Muslim world to mark the end of the first month of Ramadan during his pontificate.
NOTE: Irony not lost in al-Tayeb’s call for ”tolerance”, who heads one of the most longest running institution of intolerance in the world.