The Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayyib met yesterday the Danish Ambassador Christian Hoppe to discuss religious tolerance and peace.
At the meeting, el-Tayyib called for achieving peace between clerics of all religions. He asserted that world peace is the biggest concern on his mind, saying that clerical dialogue was the best way to accomplish this goal.
The sheikh also called for dialogue between adherents of different faiths, noting that religions provide opportunities for accordance and cooperation that can help save humanity from the atrocities of war. He warned that without peace between different clerics, there will be no peace between common believers.
El-Tayyib stressed that achieving peace requires substantial assistance from Al-Azhar, a major clerical institution for Sunni Muslims, and Western churches.
The sheikh said he felt that Islam was being misunderstood by some in the West. He noted that Muslims in the West encounter major challenges posed by Western culture, and warned that certain bodies support these obstacles for political reasons. He added that religious institutions can restore balance in Europe if they become aware of these facts and tackle them.
Hoppe concurred with el-Tayyib, arguing that some extremists feed misunderstanding of Islam in Europe in general and Denmark in particular, by promoting fanatic views and giving people a false image of Islam. In December 2005 a Danish paper published a seies of cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohamed and angering Muslims around the world.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.