Tolerance, coexistence and women’s and children’s rights along with preserving family and climate change – Most prominent participations for the Muslim Council of Elders in 2022

Under the chairmanship of His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the Muslim Council of Elders continued its various participations at conferences and forums aimed at enhancing the values of peace, dialogue, tolerance, coexistence an human fraternity as well as reflecting true Islamic values in dealing with others by accepting differences and correcting misconceptions.

As part of efforts aimed at interfaith dialogue and global peace, the Council’s Chairman His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and its Secretary-General Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam participated at the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in the capital of Kazakhstan Nur-Sultan. The event was attended by the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as well as His Holiness Pope Francis, Pontiff of the Catholic Church as well as 108 religious and world leaders from 60 different countries. The conference was held on the 14th and 15th of September 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’. At the event’s conclusion, delegates adopted the Document on Human Fraternity as a guide for fraternity between humanity.

The Council was also present at the ‘Tangier Religious Debate’ which was held in the Kingdom of Morocco. The event hosted various representatives of governments, religious leaders and diplomats from around the world.

Likewise, hosted an interfaith workshop titled ‘Human Fraternity and Promoting Peace in Communities’ at the World Council of Churches’ Assembly, an annual event considered to be one of the most diverse Christian gatherings in the world with over 4,000 participants.

To build on the achievements of the Document on Human Fraternity, the Council participated in the ‘Building Interreligious Solidarity’ conference hosted by Georgetown University, in partnership with the Muslim Council of Elders and the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity. The event featured over 100 university students from around the world and included a recorded speech by His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Council. 

In light of contemporary world issues, the Council ensured its participation at the 8th ‘International Meeting of Dialogue and Prayer for Peace among World Religions’ in the Italian capital, Rome which was organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio. The event featured a number of religious leaders from around the world and discussed the role of religions in promoting dialogue, peace and coexistence in light of contemporary global challenges.

The Council also virtually participated at the ‘At a Crossroads: A Multireligious Intergenerational Response to the Social and Environmental Crises’ event which was held in Spain. The event was co-hosted by the Religions for Peace NGO and the Manresa City Council. 

Another notable participation was at the 9th United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum which was held on the 22nd and 23rd of November in Fez, Morocco under the theme ‘Towards an Alliance of Peace: Living Together as One Humanity’.

The Council’s Secretary-General also spoke at the 7th Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue which was held in the Czech Republic and was attended by the Czech Minister of Foreign Fairs and various thinkers and ambassadors. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Anna Lindh Foundation.

Likewise, the Council organized the ‘Bahrain Dialogue Forum: East and West for Human Coexistence’ which was held on the 3rd and 4th of November 2022 and was attended by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain as well as His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders and His Holiness Pope Francis, Pontiff of the Catholic Church alongside over 200 religious leaders along with prominent academic and media figures from around the world. The Grand Imam and Pope Francis also held a historic meeting and dialogue between members of the Muslim Council of Elders and Senior Cardinals of the Catholic Church titled 'Dialogue between religions and the challenges of the twenty-first century'.

The Council also participated at the National Festival for Tolerance held in the United Arab Emirates. The festival was organized by the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence in the UAE with cooperation with the Muslim Council of Elders. It was held under the slogan ‘United by our Common Humanity" on the occasion of celebrating the International Day for Tolerance’.

The Council was also present in a roundtable discussion co-organized by the Deseret Management Corporation (DMC), the New York University Abu Dhabi, and the MCE at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Titled ‘Modern Bridges of Understanding: The Role of Culture and Media’, the Governor of the state of Utah, His Excellency Spencer J. Cox, *was in attendance, as well as a number of high-profile experts and media personalities from the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America. There was also a participation at the Global Media Congress held in Abu Dhabi from the 15th until the 17th of November 2022.

Likewise, Judge Abdelsalam spoke at the International Summer University for Intercultural Leadership organized by the Aladdin Project and under the patronage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Under the theme of ‘The Effects of Inequalities on Society’, the 2022 edition of the International Summer University for Intercultural Leadership is held at Bahçeşehir University (BAU) in Istanbul, Turkey. The event hosts students from 30 different universities from around the world.

To counter climate change, the Council took part at the ‘Realizing Ambition through ethical, multi-generational and sector responses to the climate crisis’ seminar organized by Religions for Peace as part of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) being held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

In terms of perserving women’s and children’s rights, the Council took part in the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children 2022 Conference, co-organized by Arigato International and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome under the theme ‘World Day of Prayer and Action for Children 2022’. It also partnered with the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council ( AMMWEC) to organize a virtual event to promote positive narratives about women- to include Arab & Muslim women and highlight the work of women in the community and in peacemaking as well as showcasing positive role models for the younger generation.

The Muslim Council of Elders also too part in the 14th World Congress of Families in Mexico City to discuss issues surrounding the role of religious leaders in maintaining the family structure in societies around the world.

In Indonesia, the Council took part in the ‘New Jurisprudence for a New Human Civilization" with a lecture titled, ‘The Message of Renewing Religious Discourse and Reformulating Islamic Concepts’. The lecture aimed to emphasize the importance of religious renewal in a way that corrects misconceptions and combats extremism.



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