A deterioration in religious values was one of the main drivers of war and violence around the world, a prominent Egyptian faith leader has claimed.
Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, made his comments during a recent meeting with Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Al-Tayyeb said: “The wars we are witnessing today are mainly caused by the deviation from the morals of religion, the spread of atheism, and disbelief in God.”
Accompanied by a delegation of senior scholars from the Islamic scientific body and the largest religious institution in Egypt, he was visiting Tawadros to pass on Christmas and new year greetings.
He pointed out the need for Muslims and Christians in Egypt and around the globe to draw closer to God in times of crisis in order to bring about international security and stability.
Many of the world’s problems, he noted, stemmed from the “spread of selfishness, arrogance, and tyranny of power and money, as well as the distance from values and morals, and alienation from identity.”
Tawadros said Al-Tayyeb’s visit carried with it “cordiality, love, and good feelings,” and that such meetings delivered “a message of reassurance to all, as they reflect the strength of the relationship that binds Christians and Muslims in our country, praying to God to preserve Egypt and perpetuate the blessings of security and safety for us.”
Al-Azhar Al-Sharif has been encouraging the sending of Christmas messages of good will to Christian communities worldwide, evidenced by Al-Tayyeb’s greetings to Pope Francis
, Tawadros, the British Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Archbishop Bartholomew I of Constantinople, and other international church leaders.
In a statement, Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism said: “These greetings carried an explicit call to raise the voice of brotherhood and peace in order for security and stability to prevail everywhere.”
Tawadros also received Mahmoud Tawfik, Egypt’s minister of the interior, Mohamed Maait, the country’s minister of finance, and their accompanying delegations, at the papal headquarters in Cairo.
He presides over the Christmas mass prayer on Friday evening at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in the New Administrative Capital in Cairo, in the presence of dignitaries.