The grand imam of Cairo’s prestigious Al-Azhar mosque and university is to visit the World Council of Churches (WCC) to give a public lecture and participate in high-level consultations on interreligious peacemaking.
Prof. Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb was chosen as grand imam of the Cairo mosque in 2010 and has outspokenly advocated religious dialogue and peace as a strong critic of religious extremism. In the early part of 2016, he made news around the world when he made a historic visit to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis and also to Paris, France, six months after terrorist attacks there.
On Saturday 1 October at 4 p.m. CET, the grand imam will speak at the Ecumenical Institute Bossey on "The Responsibility of Religious Leaders for Achieving World Peace". The speech, in Arabic, will have simultaneous translation into French and English.
An expert in Islamic philosophy and law, Tayyeb espouses comprehensive reforms of religious education and he is a frequent guest and influential speaker at consultations throughout the world on Islamic identity, combating terrorism, and dialogue for peace.
His visit will also include consultations with the leadership of the WCC’s Central Committee, including moderator Dr Agnes Abuom; vice-moderator Bishop Mary Ann Swenson; Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, vice-moderator and the general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.
“We are honoured to welcome one of the world’s highest ranking and most influential Muslim leaders to Geneva, and I very much look forward to his lecture and to sharing views with him on the many challenges that we as religious persons and leaders face together,” says Tveit.
The visit of the Grand Imam coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Ecumenical Institute at Chateau de Bossey, where thousands of women and men from all over the world have attended academic studies, seminars and conferences since its inauguration in 1946.
“I can’t think of a more appropriate place and time for such a prominent and highly respected advocate of religious dialogue to hold a lecture on peace-building”, says the director of the institute, Rev. Dr Ioan Sauca.