Key Highlights of the Muslim Council of Elders' Achievements in 2023: Illuminating Milestones in Advancing Muslim-Christian Dialogue

The Muslim Council of Elders, under the chairmanship of His Eminence Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, continued its steadfast efforts to advance Muslim-Christian dialogue throughout 2023. These endeavors, rooted in the Council's mission to foster peace and disseminate the values of dialogue, tolerance, and human coexistence, encompassed the implementation of several noteworthy initiatives.


The Muslim Council of Elders embraced a series of significant initiatives to enhance Muslim-Christian dialogue, underscoring the Council's dedication to fortify respect, promote collaboration among adherents of diverse religions and cultures, forge communication bridges, and amplify the role of religious leaders in tackling global challenges.

In this vein, the Muslim Council of Elders emphasizes that the current challenges impacting global peace and security require immediate and positive dialogue among followers of diverse faiths and cultural backgrounds. This commitment aligns with the principles outlined in the Document on Human Fraternity, a groundbreaking accord signed by His Eminence Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, and His Holiness Pope Francis, the Head of the Catholic Church, in Abu Dhabi in 2019. The Document advocates for the respect and acceptance of others and the promotion of dialogue and coexistence for the improvement of humanity's future.


Recognizing the importance of continuing Muslim-Christian dialogue, which has seen seven rounds of discussions between the East and the West, the Council made significant efforts in 2023 to foster dialogue and mutual understanding. The Council signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vatican's Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, leading to the establishment of a permanent joint committee for Muslim-Christian dialogue. The agreement also outlined annual meetings to coordinate joint efforts and initiatives aimed at enhancing dialogue and coexistence. The first meeting of the Permanent Committee for Muslim-Christian Dialogue between the Muslim Council of Elders and the Vatican’s Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue was hosted in the Kingdom of Bahrain in May 2023. The focus of the inaugural gathering was on activating the role of religious leaders and discussing mechanisms for involving religious authorities and institutions in supporting international climate action through interfaith and intercultural dialogue.


In 2023, the Muslim Council of Elders also engaged in purposeful meetings to enhance communication with various Christian denominations, fostering friendly relations and mutual respect among followers of different religions and denominations to achieve peace and general harmony. A notable meeting took place between His Eminence Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and the Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, and Bishop Georg Bätzing, the President of the German Bishops' Conference. The meeting emphasized the importance of promoting dialogue among religious leaders to confront all forms of hatred, bigotry, and discrimination.

Additionally, the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, His Excellency Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, conducted several visits to the Italian capital, Rome. During these visits, he met with His Holiness Pope Francis, the Head of the Catholic Church, to discuss launching an initiative to activate the role of religious leaders in addressing climate challenges and coordinate efforts to convene the Global Faith Summit on Climate Action. During the Summit, the 'Confluence of Conscience: Uniting for Planetary Resurgence' – also known as 'The Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement for COP28' – was endorsed. The Statement was signed by His Eminence Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and the MCE Chairman, and His Holiness Pope Francis, the Head of the Catholic Church, as well as 28 faith leaders and figures from around the world. The Council also organized the Faith Pavilion at COP28 for the first time in the history of the Conference of the Parties (COP) meetings.

In the same context, the year 2023 saw several coordination meetings by the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders with various Christian religious leaders. Prominent figures included Cardinal Miguel Ayuso, Prefect of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue; Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury; Dr. Jerry Pillay, Secretary-General of the World Council of Churches; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect Emeritus of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches; Bishop Anba Ermia, General Bishop and President of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center; Bishop Dr. Bertram Meier of Augsburg; and Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church. These meetings were centeredon fostering mutual cooperation and launching various initiatives aimed at enhancing the involvement of youth in peace-making efforts. They also emphasized the crucial role of religious communities in addressing contemporary global challenges and promoting a culture of dialogue, tolerance, and human fraternity.

In 2024, the Muslim Council of Elders remains committed to advancing its efforts in fostering purposeful and constructive dialogue among followers of diverse religions and cultures. The goal is to amplify the voice of wisdom and reaffirm the collective message of peace and coexistence inherent in all religions and divine laws.



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