Cairo, MINA – The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayyeb, said he rejected the act of insulting the Prophet Muhammad and vowed to prosecute the perpetrator in an international court. It was conveyed by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in a statement.
His remarks came during a meeting on Sunday with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian when he was visiting Egypt to reduce tensions over comments by French President Emmanuel Macron on Islam.
As for Macron, defending the right to draw cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad, saying France would not abandon the cartoon. In addition, several campaigns are launched in the Islamic world, especially on social media, calling for a boycott of French products in response.
“If you consider insulting our Prophet, peace with him, freedom of speech, we firmly reject it,” said the statement, quoted from the Ahram Online website on Monday.
“I am the first to protest against free speech when this freedom violates any religion, not just Islam,” said the Grand Imam.
“Europe is indebted to our prophet Muhammad and our religion, for the light that this religion has introduced to all humanity. We refuse to call terrorism ‘Islamic’,” said El-Tayyeb.
He added that everyone should immediately stop using this term because it hurts the feelings of Muslims around the world and it contrary to the truth known to everyone.
El-Tayyeb emphasized that Muslims around the world reject terrorism that acts under the guise of religion. He stressed that Islam and the prophet have nothing to do with terrorism.
“Al-Azhar represents the voice of nearly two billion Muslims and I say terrorists do not represent us and we are not responsible for their actions. I announce that in all international forums, in Paris, London, Geneva, United States, Rome, Asian countries and everywhere, “he said.
“When we say this, we don’t say it as an apology. Islam is above an apology,” he continued.
“Me and this Al-Azhar turban carry roses in Bataclan Square, in Paris, and declare denial of any form of terrorism. Offenses are available among followers of all religions and under all systems. If we say, Christians are not responsible for the New Zealand incident. We also have to say, Islam is not responsible for the terrorism of those who fight on its behalf,” he explained.
The Grand Imam also referred to Al-Azhar’s educational and ideological role at all times in the face of terrorism. He said it created a new curriculum, which confirmed that terrorists are criminals and that Islam is not responsible for their actions.
On the other hand, El-Tayyeb praised Le Drian’s remarks during the crisis sparked by Marcon’s controversial remarks. He said that Le Drian’s words represented the voice of wisdom.
In his press remarks, Le Drian emphasized France’s deep respect for Islam, including its role in French culture, history and science, as well as the role of Grand Imam El-Tayyeb Al-Azhar in calling for tolerance and moderation.
Le Drian said Muslims in France are an integral part of French society, and can carry out their rituals under state protection.
According to Le Drian, the only battle that partners in Egypt should fight is against terrorism and extremism and those who distort religion for political ends. He said his country differentiates between Islam and extremists, insisting that Muslims are the main victims of terrorism.
“With a large institution like Al-Azhar, we have to fight the combination of hatred and religious delusions of extremists,” he said. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)