Prof. Dr. Ahmed Al Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar is on the right
Cairo - He said that terrorism has no religion or country
Islamophobia may soon develop into a religion phobia unless unitedly addressed by the religious leaders of the world.
This has been affirmed by Prof. Dr. Ahmed Al Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar, on Wednesday morning as part of the second session of dialogue between the Council of Muslim Elders and the World Council of Churches in the framework of the fifth round of dialogue between the sages of the East and West.
Citizenship and peaceful co-existence are the greatest challenges that have to be focused on and built upon to counter fanaticism, terrorism and baseless theological claims and conceptualizations, he added.
"Citizenship is the major guarantee for achieving absolute equality in rights and duties," Prof. Al Tayyeb said. "Islamophobia can turn into religion phobia unless unitedly confronted."
He added that terrorism has no religion or country. "Official figures show that the Muslim victims of terrorism are far more than the Christians." This is because of the heinous terrorism that quenches its thirst with innocents' blood, he pointed out.
He said that all media reports that link Islam to terrorism are "lies and baseless allegations."
Terrorists want nothing but to destabilize countries everywhere, he elaborated. "The goal of terrorism is to strike at the stability of a nation." The issue of citizenship is, therefore, the prime cause that world religious leaders need to discuss."
He said that citizenship is a pure Islamic system. "It had been adopted early and promoted by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in Madinah."
As such, the problem of heavenly religions cannot be resolved or sorted out through conflict or by fighting each other. "It can rather be done by abolishing the tensions between them."
World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, said they were so keen to partner with the Council of Muslim Elders "for its relentless effort to spread peace."
This relationship is so important for the World Council of Churches, he added. "Islam and Christianity are the biggest religions that call for peace around the world, and therefore the efforts of the leaders of these two religions must get united for peace and goodness to all humanity."
Islam is an open religion, by nature, to all religions and sects, he underlined. "It calls for dialogues with everybody to achieve peace." The dialogue between the leaders of these two religions does have a significant impact on the communities they belong to."
Such meetings are a perfect example of how religious leaders can resolve conflicts in every nook and cranny, Dr. Tveit stated. "We should listen to the stories of the discrimination victims of both religions as is the case with Iraq and Nigeria."
The Al Azhar Grand Imam's call for citizenship whereby all citizens are equal disregard their religions is so important for achieving peace in all communities, he pointed out.
"The word 'minority' implies isolation and segregation among the nationals of one country," he said, urging the European countries not to segregate between the Muslim and Christian refugees they receive. "I really feel ashamed of the discrimination some European countries are involved in when handling the issue of refugees based on their religion."