Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb was welcomed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby during his visit to London to participate in an honest and hope-filled interfaith dialogue during the First Emerging Peacemakers Forum.
The Forum –organized by al-Azhar and the Archbishop of Canterbury – opens channels of communications and dialogue between different faiths for acceptance and peaceful coexistence. During the forum, the religious leaders answered questions from attendees on how faith shapes their approach of leadership, mistakes they learnt from, how faith leaders are different from political leaders, and how their understanding of faith has grown over the years.
British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson said:
Nowadays, some people think religion is the source of trouble but I believe it can be the solution. We must invest in interfaith dialogues and prepare young generations to become future leaders and spread compassion, deeper understanding and partnership with people who are different. This forum is one of the many steps with which UK and Egypt come together as partners to build bridges of confidence and respect to have inclusive, peaceful and flourishing societies.
The Grand Imam met with Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister of State at the Department for International Development the Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP.
The Imam also met with five of the UK-Al Azhar scholarship students who are currently studying for their PhDs at British universities. The Religious Studies scholarship was established in 2015 by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, and the British Ambassador, John Casson. Since 2016, six scholarships have been awarded, and each scholarship is worth up to £170,000 per candidate. Three new scholars expect to commence their scholarships this autumn.