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Sunni Islam’s Al-Azhar in Cairo dialogue with Vatican

A representative from the Vatican French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran (L), president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in the Roman Curia, and Abbas Shuman (2nd-L), deputy imam of Cairo's al-Azhar mosque, attend a joint seminar in Cairo on February 22, 2017, on the phenomena of religious intolerance, extremism and violence. / AFP PHOTO / Ahmed ISMAIL

CAIRO, Feb 23 — Representatives of Sunni Islam’s prestigious Al-Azhar institution and from the Vatican held talks in Cairo yesterday following up on a rapprochement launched in 2016.

Their meeting focused on the role of the Cairo-based institution and the Vatican “in countering fanaticism, extremism and violence”, Al-Azhar said in a statement.

“Dialogue must prevail between men to dissipate… differences, and religion is capable of overcoming discord with tolerance,” Mahmoud Zaqzouq of Al-Azhar said in an opening address.

The Vatican delegation was led by Jean-Louis Tauran, a French cardinal who heads a Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, of which Pope Francis is a keen advocate.

The pope hosted the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, at the Vatican last May, in a warming of ties damaged when former pope Benedict XVI appeared to associate Islam with terrorism in a 2006 speech. — AFP

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