Al-Azhar letter calls for unity meeting

TEHRAN, Aug. 26 (MNA) – Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyib has sent a letter to Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, a Shia source of emulation (marja) for a meeting on Muslim unity.

Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyib is the highest authority of the greatest Sunni religious academic center; Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi is the head of Imam Kazem (as) Seminary School in Qom and a great cleric; these are both staunch advocate of unity of Islamic Umma. They started a series of correspondences between Cairo and Qom during recent few months with an ambitious scheme to stop the shedding of the blood of the Muslims.

The correspondence between two famous clerics of two great Islamic sects had been centered on organizing of a series of conferences against Takfirism both in Qom and Cairo; however, the recent letter highlighted as its subject matter taking serious decision by two great Islamic centers on a joint fatwa putting religious ban on shedding of Muslims’ blood.

Sheikh of al-Azhar had voiced his deep interest during the holy month of Ramadan to hold sessions with Shia and Sunni clerics participating and to find a way of symbiosis between two Islamic sects.

Ayatollah Makarem sent a response to Dr. Tayyib’s letter, expressing gratitude for the Sheikh’s positions on Islamic unity, proposing that “a scientific conference be held with high-ranking clerics participating to examine the most important barriers in the way of Islamic unity, and present the measures to improve unity.”

Delay in preparing response by Dr. Tayyib to Ayatollah Makarem’s letter brought the latter’s representative and the Head of Velayat International TV Network Ayatollah Seyed Mohammad Hosseini Qazvini to a press conference to announce the content of the letter and to sell their agreement with the proposal to Sunni clerics and communities.

Recently, the much anticipated answer came finally from Cairo signed by Dr. Tayyib. Part of the letter, published by Ayat. Makarem’s office, reads “the religious discord had no longer remained on books; rather, now it has actively sought a role to contribute to bloodshed and killing of fellow Muslim brethren, where neither Sunnis nor Shia would benefit from; the only beneficiary are the enemies of Islam, which are lying in ambush, waiting opportunities.”

“The politicians usually abuse this sort of the religious rift to kill and interfere with others’ affairs and direct insults to sacrosanct figures and rituals of the religion,” the letter continued, “I have, in different occasions, highlighted the very holding of the conference with all famous religious figures of both Sunni and Shia religious centers so that we keep a safe distance from a grave threat approaching us; the conference should conclude with a very decisive fatwa banning mutual killing of Sunnis and Shias,” it emphasized.

The invitation by a famous al-Azhar cleric and the visit by Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi to Cairo would be a source of hope for long-drawn-out unity between both sects; however, the political arena in Egypt would pose the greater challenge for the realization of such a conference and the very act of a visit by a Shia cleric to the country which has no relations with Iran.

Hosseini Qazvini however provides the remedy; “we would invite Dr. Tayyib to come over to Qom or any third country for such a conference to discuss the problems of the Islamic world,” he told reporters.


News Code 109529


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