Top Muslim and Christian clerics from the Middle East gathered in Cairo on Tuesday for a two-day conference on promoting co-existence, as sectarian conflict continues to ravage the region.
The “Freedom and Citizenship” conference is hosted by Al-Azhar.
It comes as Coptic Christians in Egypt’s Sinai flee attacks by Islamic State group jihadists who are waging an insurgency in the peninsula.
“Exonerating religions from terrorism no longer suffices in the face of these barbaric challenges,” Al-Azhar’s head Sheikh Ahmed Tayeb said in a speech on the opening day.
Tayeb called for dispelling “the lingering mistrust and tensions between religious leaders that are no longer justified, for if there is no peace between the proponents of religions first, the proponents cannot give it to the people.”
Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II called for “fighting extremist thought with enlightened thought.”
He said: “Egypt and the region have suffered from extremist thought resulting from a mistaken understanding of religion that has led to terrorism.”
The conference, including Muslim muftis and Christian clergy, is to issue a closing statement on Wednesday.
Source: National News Agency