Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, is organising the World Conference on Peace in Egypt.
The event takes place in Cairo across the 27th and 28th of April, and Pope Francis will be a featured speaker.
Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb has stated the goal of this conference is to “eliminate the causes of conflict, violence and hate”.
The office of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar has summarised the objectives of the World Conference on Peace as “addressing a message to the whole world” to “call for peace between religious leaders, between societies and between all countries of the world”.
The Conference was proposed back in 2016 when Sheikh Ahemed al-Tayeb was on a visit to the Vatican and Pope Francis announced his intentions to visit Egypt.
With the Conference being confirmed for April 27 – 28 the Vatican have indicated that the Pope will give a speech on Friday the 28th after the Grand Imam upon his arrival in the Egyptian capital and following on from a “courtesy visit” to President al-Sissi.
The speech is highly anticipated as it comes roughly three weeks after two attacks which caused dozens of deaths during the Palm Sunday celebrations in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria, attacks for which the terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility.
Previously Pope Francis has stated he does not “like to speak of Islamic violence” he has also spoken of “war” with respect to terrorism, going on to say “not all Muslims are violent just as not all Catholics are violent”
It is thought that around 300 people have been invited to the World Conference on Peace with a view to ending the religious extremism that is currently threatening the World and in al-Azhars context, “seeking peace by eliminating the causes of poverty, sickness and hate” which is a “human necessity” and “a responsibility” not only for those who share “a particular belief or philosophy” but for the “whole of humanity”.
Previously in front of a crowd of religious and political leaders from around the World, the Grand Imam recognized and stated that “acquitting religions of terrorism”, which had previously been his main motive, “is no longer enough”.
Let’s hope that the Conference will inspire more people to live a more peaceful life and realize that by people coming together, religious or non, will make stop wars and in the main go some way to making the world a better place.