Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb said that the sheikhdom cherishes the relationship between Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, which stems from a correct understanding of religion.
In remarks to the “Sout (voice of) Al-Azhar” magazine, Tayyeb added: “Restricting non-Muslims in their food and drink during the day in Ramadan on the pretext of fasting is an absurdity that does not suit and does not relate to Islam.”
Tayyeb stressed that “A Muslim who cannot stand seeing his Christian colleague at work eating or drinking, or seeing Christian citizens in restaurants during the day of Ramadan, how can he stand seeing his own kids eating during the day in Ramadan? Or is he restricting his children and forbidding them to eat and drink?!”
“Congratulating Christians on holidays is not out of courtesy or formalities, but rather comes from our understanding of the teachings of our true religion, and the relationship between Muslims and Christians is a true embodiment of unity and brotherhood, and that this brotherhood will always remain the solid bond that strengthens the country against difficulties and challenges.”
Tayyeb said that Al-Azhar sees absolutely nothing wrong with building churches as there is nothing in the Quran or the Prophetic Sunnah that forbids this matter and therefore Al-Azhar cannot interfere to prevent the building of a church.
The Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar described the harassment that happens in some villages and hamlets when building any church as an inherited customs and traditions that people passed on, and it has no origin in Islam.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm