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Islam does not condone terrorism - Al-Azhar chief

28 aprile 2017 | 18.06
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Pope Francis (R) and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, embrace during a visit of the Pope to the prestigious Sunni institution in Cairo on April 28, 2017. Pope Francis began a visit to Egypt to promote "unity and fraternity" among Muslims and the embattled Christian minority that has suffered a series of jihadist attacks. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

The Muslim faith is not a terrorist religion, Ahmad al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Cairo's prestigious Al-Azhar mosque - the highest seat of Sunni learning - said on Friday.

"Islam is not a terrorist religion, just as Christianity and Judaism are not," Tayyeb told an international peace conference in Cairo on Friday attended by Pope Francis during his two-day visit to Egypt.

Islam should not be judged on the basis of the actions of a "limited group of people" who misinterpret its sacred texts, Tayeb said.

In the same way, the Crusades during the Middle Ages do not make Christianity a violent religion, nor should Judaism be judged for the occupation of the Palestinian territories, he said.

Before the visit - the first papal trip to Cairo since John Paul II's in 2000 - Francis said he was travelling as a "messenger of peace".

The visit is aimed at improving Christian-Muslim dialogue and reaching out to Egypt's Christian minority, three weeks after bombings at two Coptic churches killed 47 people.

The Vatican and Egypt's prestigious Al-Azhar university in February resumed dialogue sessions in Cairo that were broken off in 2011 after Pope Benedict XVI deplored an attack on a Coptic Church in the city of Alexandria.

Relations between the Vatican and the Al-Azhar earlier faltered in 2006 when a speech given by Benedict appeared to associated Islam with terrorism.

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