His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders has spoken at the closing ceremony of the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Kazakhstan’s capital, Nur-Sultan. The two-day conference was held under the theme ‘The role of leaders of world and traditional religions in the spiritual and social development of mankind in the post-pandemic period’ and saw a total of 108 religious and world leaders from 60 different countries take part.
During his speech, the Grand Imam said, “I believe the conference’s final recommendations touch on many issues from which the international community, with all its poor and rich people, is suffering due to the silence of the so-called civilized world and its indifference to the afflictions that befall the miserable and the poor, who are the majority population in our world. I can only emphasize that religious leader cannot achieve their goals until they unite and let their followers work together to overcome any grudges and resentments among people.”
The Grand Imam outlined three points to achieve the goals of religious of leaders and they were, “Firstly, directing faith activities in different religions to serve humanistic purposes rather than fueling conflicts among religions and religious people. Secondly, gathering the lofty humanistic values from each religion such as compassion and kindness towards fellow humans, regardless of any differences that might divide them, and disseminating them by all available means and languages. Finally, adopting a rational approach to the dissemination of these common values, based on the love of truth, while avoiding any mischievous means to influence people’s beliefs.”
The Grand Imam continued, “The experience myself and my brother Pope Francis had with the Document on Human Fraternity encourages us to take this initiative further. There were radical opinions that tried to obstacle this dialogue and often consider it taboo for the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and the head of the Catholic Church to meet. However, because we have sincere intentions, in our first meeting, we felt like we had known each other for years, and our hearts and minds embraced mutual friendship.”
His Eminence concluded by stating, “I am one of those who believe that human civilizations, in all their stages, need heaven’s light, the prophets’ guidance, and the wisdom of the holy scriptures. I am convinced that the cure to the modern diseases of humanity, especially its blindness to see the truth, no longer lies in any materialist or technological progress. It can only be found in the spiritual welfare which religions play a pivotal role in ensuring it.”