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    » 02/24/2016, 16.07


    Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Indonesia: "Terrorism is not part of Islam"

    Mathias Hariyadi

    Ahmad Al Thayyeb is on visit to the most populous Muslim country in the world. Indonesian President asks him to defend the moderate vision of Islam, against the radical threat. Muslim Scholars: "Al Thayyeb is a great authority, his visit is meant to strengthen cultural ties with Jakarta and prevent  a Shiite-Sunni conflict occurring in Indonesia." Catholic professor: "The Church is ready to support a moderate reform of Islam."


    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - "Terrorism is not part of Islam". This is what Syekh Ahmad Muhammad Ahmad Al Thayyeb, the Great Imam and rector of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, said in an interview to Indonesian press in course of his visit to Indonesia.

    Welcoming the highest Sunni authority in the Islamic world, the Indonesian president Joko Widodo asked Al Tayyeb to defend the moderate face of Islam. "The president - says Alwi Shihab, former foreign minister - asked the Grand Imam to spread his vision and his enlightened thought among Muslim organizations and communities in Indonesia".

    The rector of Al-Azhar arrived in the Southeast Asian nation on February 21 last year and still remain for a few days. Yesterday, he visited the Islamic State University of Jakarta (UIM) and will also travel to that of Malang (East Java) to accept an honorary degree. AsiaNews spoke to some Islamic and Catholic figures, who pointed out the deep reasons of this important visit.

    Al-Azhar, explains Ali Mushanif, professor of social policies at the Syarief Hidayatullah Islamic University, "is the central icon of Islamic studies in the world. It is not the first time that the Great Imam of this prestigious university has visited Indonesia: Muhammad Tantawi was here in 2006 ". "The main reason for this trip - continues the professor - from Al-Azhar's point of view is to improve the education cooperation with Indonesia, which already has 3,500 students studying there." Al Tayyeb announced that the number of annual scholarships reserved for Indonesian students will increase to 50.

    In addition, says Ali Mushanif, "Al Tayyeb is the main reference of other Muslim nations in internal disputes within Islam, such as the dispute between Sunnis and Shiites." Historically, the scholar continues, "Al-Azhar has always had a moderate view of the conflict with the Shiites, and has never termed them outlaws. But I think the visit is also a way to reaffirm the dominance of the Sunnis. With more than 200 million Muslims, Indonesia has become a strategic country to maintain the unity of Islam, where you can prevent the symptoms of rivalry between Sunnis and Shiites [in Indonesia are less than 1%, ed] . The Great Imam excels in maintaining the right balance between the parties ".

    M. Qasim Mathar, of the Islamic University of Makassar (South Sulawesi), says Al Tayyeb’s visit  is important "not only because Indonesia is the most populous moderate Muslim nation in the world, but also because it is battling fundamentalism and Islamic radicalism, which are not in accordance with the schools of thought spread by Al-Azhar ". "As an Indonesian - concludes the professor - I hope that this visit will strengthen the bonds between Indonesian Muslims and Egyptians, who are often affected by the violent attacks of the radicals."

    Wijoyo, a Catholic scholar of Islam has expressed his hope for a reform that promotes a moderate Islam. Al Tayyeb’s visit, he  explains, "does not directly concern the Catholic Church, but if there is some attempt to reform, then the Indonesian Church will support it."

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    See also

    08/03/2013 EGYPT
    For Al-Azhar's grand imam, Christian-Muslim strife is not religious in nature
    Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar University blames recent clashes on social tensions, not religion. He wants religious leaders to be educated, extremists isolated. Al-Azhar professor proposes to introduce the jizya, a tax Christians paid for centuries to caliphs and sultans to stay alive.

    25/05/2016 11:50:00 EGYPT-VATICAN
    Pope-Grand Imam of Al Azhar: Egypt’s press enthusiastic and "political" comments

    Al Sisi mediation praised for success of encounter. Amazement at the sobriety of the Vatican statement. A corrective measure for Islamophobia generated by the Islamic State. A reader: I believe in Pope Francis and his smile


    03/01/2011 ISLAM - VATICAN - EGYPT
    Europe and Islam in the wake of attacks against Copts in Alexandria
    Absurd accusations against the Coptic community of keeping two women who converted to Islam captive. The psychosis of a country that prohibits changing of religion. Islamic attacks against Shenouda, the criticism of the imam of Al-Azhar against Benedict XVI. Europe must open up channels for cultural dialogue with Islamic countries, rejecting secularism and fundamentalism. Just like the pope said.

    03/01/2011 EGYPT – ISLAM
    Alexandria, tensions between Copts and Government
    Demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria to demand greater protection, and an end to discrimination. The authors of the massacre could be Egyptian fundamentalists. The Vatican rejects accusations of "interference" by the imam of Al-Azhar against the words of the Pope at the Angelus, January 2.

    06/04/2013 EGYPT
    Egypt: Islamist Muslim Brotherhood set sights on al-Azhar
    The Grand Mufti of Egypt criticizes Islamists’ attacks on authorities of the largest Sunni university. The great Imam al-Tayeb and the rector of the University are being investigated for the poisoning of 550 students. But according to AsiaNews sources the move is only a pretext of the Muslim Brotherhood to gain control of the institution. Al-Azhar cleric: "The Islamists are poisoning the minds of our students."

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