Al-Azhar Grand Imam, Muslim Council of Elders Chairman receives UN Secretary-General to discuss latest developments in Gaza

UN Secretary-General: "We continue to support justice in Gaza and to exert pressure on the international community to respect the rights of Palestinians."

UN Secretary-General to Al-Azhar Grand Imam: "You are a powerful voice for supporting the rights of the Palestinian people."

Al-Azhar Grand Imam presents the UN Secretary-General with a shield from the Muslim Council of Elders, appreciating his courageous stance towards the Palestinians and his efforts to combat Islamophobia.


His Eminence Prof. Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and the Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, received today, Sunday, Mr. António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, accompanied by Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), and Ms. Elena Panova, the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt. The two parties discussed the latest developments in Gaza.

His Eminence the Grand Imam warmly welcomed Mr. António Guterres, commending his courageous stances in supporting the Palestinian cause and promoting justice and human rights in Gaza. He also praised Mr. Guterres's clear positions in warning the world of the dangers of this aggression, as well as the significant efforts of the UNRWA towards refugees fleeing the aggression's flames.

His Eminence Sheikh Al-Tayeb remarked, "We have closely followed your brave actions and fair statements in various international gatherings, as well as the pressures and difficult situations you have encountered while advocating for justice and the Palestinian cause. I want to assure you that we, at Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, including scholars, professors, students, and affiliates, support your stances and will not waver in our support. We understand that you feel the pain and sorrow that we feel, and our only recourse is to rely on God, Almighty. Through your actions and those of leaders and wise individuals like you, you serve as a beacon of hope for protecting the weak and oppressed in Gaza."

He stressed that the world is heading in the wrong direction without humanitarian principles or moral guidelines. He emphasized that if the current situation persists, we will witness an unprecedented spread of crime, hatred, destruction, wars, and violence. This contagion will extend from conflict zones to all countries worldwide, reaching even the West and America. Therefore, it is imperative for all of us to unite and stand in solidarity to halt the torrents of innocent blood being shed every hour.

His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders emphasized that the current events in Gaza threaten to undermine the ongoing efforts of communication and rapprochement between the East and the West that have been initiated years ago. He noted that the international community's responses to the aggression in Gaza have been frustrating and disappointing, particularly from the Security Council and the broader international community. In contrast, significant fairness has been shown by Western and American societies, and some fair-minded Jews have even called for an end to the aggression in Gaza.

The UN Secretary-General expressed, "It is a great honor for me to meet with Your Eminence and express my appreciation for your constant efforts in promoting peace and solidarity. You are an example to be followed by all. I would like to convey our appreciation to Al-Azhar Al-Sharif as a strong voice defending and supporting the Palestinian people. We are determined to exert pressure on the international community to respect the rights of Palestinians and alleviate their suffering. Yesterday, I visited the Rafah Border Crossing to emphasize the necessity of ending the aggression and for the international community to fulfill its duties with actions, not just words. On the other side of the crossing, I saw Palestinians suffering from severe shortages of food and water, as well as the spread of various infectious diseases. It is our responsibility to highlight and immediately stop this suffering. This is a responsibility for all of us."

Mr. António Guterres noted that he had met with officials from various international institutions and organizations the previous day, where he listened to many accounts about the situation in Gaza. He remarked that some officials had told him that in his more than 25 years of working in conflict and war zones around the world, he had never witnessed the level of destruction, suffering, and violence that he saw in Gaza.

Mr. Guterres emphasized that Islamophobia has significantly evolved and has become one of the most widespread forms of discrimination and hatred. He attributed this evolution to modern technological advancements, highlighting that the world is currently witnessing unprecedented levels of hatred and violence. He cited the situations in Sudan, Gaza, Ukraine, and various parts of Africa, stating, "I do not recall a more dangerous period than what we are experiencing now." He emphasized his continued support for justice in Gaza, asserting that no one will be able to silence or suppress his voice.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar presented Mr. António Guterres with a shield from the Muslim Council of Elders as a token of appreciation from Al-Azhar and all the wise people of the Islamic world for his courageous stance towards the innocent Palestinians in Gaza, as well as his efforts in combating Islamophobia and the phenomenon of hostility towards Islam.



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