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June 12, 2013 9:04 pm
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Al-Azhar Envoy to Pope Francis: Declaring Islam ‘Peaceful’ a Contingency for Restoring Interfaith Ties

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Pope Francis. Photo: Casa Rosada/Wikimedia Commons

JNS.org –  An envoy from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, one of the highest centers of learning in the Islamic world, has called on Pope Francis to declare Islam as a “peaceful religion” in order to restore ties between the world’s two largest faiths.

“The problems that we had were not with the Vatican but with the former pope. Now the doors of Al-Azhar are open,” Mahmoud Abdel Gawad, diplomatic envoy to the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, told the Cairo-based Italian daily Il Messaggero in a report cited by AFP.

“Francis is a new pope. We are expecting a step forward from him. If in one of his addresses he were to declare that Islam is a peaceful religion, that Muslims are not looking for war or violence, that would be progress in itself,” he said.

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But Gawad ruled out any dialogue that would include Jewish leaders, saying during the interview that Al-Azhar “will not take part in any meeting with Israelis.”

Under Pope Benedict, the Catholic Church had strained relations with the Muslim world over comments Benedict made about the Prophet Mohammed in 2006. Additionally, both Benedict and Francis have been critical of Muslim treatment of Christian minorities in the Middle East.

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  • Leon

    Its a sin to tell a lie…………

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    If Islam is basically and fundamentally peaceful, then the sun revolves around the earth and left is right, down is up, and white is black. There are tens of millions of peaceful Moslems and some strains of Islam such as Sufi which definitely are peaceful and tolerant but a religion may fairly be judged by what its adherents do in its name…Islam is not peaceful!

  • aelfheld

    Isn’t asking the Pope to lie a sin?

  • Cromulent

    So then Al-Azhar is asking the Pope to lie? No thank you.

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