Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb inaugurated on Wednesday the fifth round of dialogue between eastern and western religious leaders.
This comes as Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Egypt on Friday.
“The Caliphate era was being ruled by certain legislations suited to its era regarding non-Muslims and their rights in the Caliphate; however, it makes sense, and according to Islam as well, that if the political system changes, many related legislations change with it,” Al-Tayeb said in his speech.
Al-Tayeb welcomed the delegation of the World Council of Churches (WCC), and asserted the role of religious leaders in making citizenship initiatives more effective, and this is the biggest challenge amid terrorism and calls to extremism.
He added that “there is no doubt that citizenship is the true guarantee to achieving the absolute equality of rights and duties between Muslims and non-Muslims.” The Grand Imam further warned of “media lies that link Islam with terrorism and accuse Muslims of oppressing Christian citizens.”
Meanwhile, Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, said that the WCC is looking forward to the partnership with the Muslim Council of Elders. He praised Al-Azhar’s efforts in spreading peace and inviting religious leaders to dialogue, which boosts global peace.
“This relation with Al-Azhar is very important for the World Council of Churches, because Islam and Christianity are the most important religions calling for peace in the world,” Tveit said. He described Islam as a religion that calls for dialogue between all people to achieve peace.
Tveit asked the European countries to not to distinguish between Christian and Muslim refugees from conflict zones. The use of the word “minorities” holds meanings of isolation and segmentation, he added.