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Bridges of Peace: el-Tayeb (al-Azhar), “terrorism cannot be the work of a people of believers”

(from our correspondent in Bologna) – “Terrorism, which spreads panic among those who live in peace and deprives them of safety, cannot be the work of a people of believers. This behaviour is certainly the work of a group of people who are easy prey to disinformation, brainwashing, trading in souls and consciences”. Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of the Sunni al-Azhar University in Egypt, strongly condemned all forms of terrorism and extremism as he took the floor yesterday afternoon at the International Meeting “Bridges of Peace” in Bologna, Italy. The Grand Imam said there is a “crisis in our contemporary world, which is intellectual, psychological, and social, a crisis – he said – which is nothing but the product of the mother of all crises, namely the crisis of peace, of arms trade, of wars between peoples”. Our societies today – he added – are marked by “violence and hatred, either hidden or overt. It is clear to me that the seeds of this crisis lie in a policy of racial discrimination, a new racial discrimination, a ruthless use of force to destroy the other just because he is different from our culture and his civilization is different from ours. But this attitude is contrary to religious life. “My religion and reading of the sacred texts – el-Tayeb said – lead me to believe with certainty that God the Almighty created men of different races, colours, languages, beliefs, and ways of thinking. He codified that these men would remain different until the end of time although he asked them to get to know each other to build and safeguard this world. God created them different so that cultures may meet and cooperate among themselves, so that every culture may protect its identity in a constructive dialogue”. “I address a cordial greeting to Pope Francis”, the Grand Imam concluded, “for his attention and his commitment to the poor and the dispossessed in our world. Let me conclude by asking all good and peace-loving people to make an effort to alleviate the suffering of the peoples, to improve the lot of those who suffer, and to show the way of peace, so that everyone may enjoy peace and love”.

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