Cairo (AFP) – Representatives of Sunni Islam’s prestigious Al-Azhar institution and from the Vatican held talks in Cairo on Wednesday following up on a rapprochement launched in 2016.
Their meeting focused on the role of the Cairo-based institution and the Vatican “in countering fanaticism, extremism and violence”, Al-Azhar said in a statement.
“Dialogue must prevail between men to dissipate… differences, and religion is capable of overcoming discord with tolerance,” Mahmoud Zaqzouq of Al-Azhar said in an opening address.
The Vatican delegation was led by Jean-Louis Tauran, a French cardinal who heads a Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, of which Pope Francis is a keen advocate.
The pope hosted the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, at the Vatican last May, in a warming of ties damaged when former pope Benedict XVI appeared to associate Islam with terrorism in a 2006 speech.