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Imam Al-Tayyeb, Bećirović issue joint statement on Gaza

Mon 29 Apr 2024 | 11:46 PM
Imam At-Tayyeb and Mr. Bećirović
Imam At-Tayyeb and Mr. Bećirović
Mohamed Mandour

On Monday, at the Headquarters of Al-Azhar, HE Prof. Ahmed At-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif received Mr. Denis Bećirović, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss key issues and challenges facing our Muslim world.

The Grand Imam welcomed Mr. Bećirović to Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif, stressing that this visit is “dear to our hearts, and has a special impression on us.” He also noted that the visit comes in conjunction with the genocide committed by the Zionists against our fellows in Gaza, which is a disgrace to humanity and a reminder of the genocidal crimes that the Bosnian Muslims were subjected to in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For him, such a genocide reminds us Muslims of the necessity of our unity as the nation’s only way out of these successive crises.

Imam At-Tayyeb added that the real issue in everything that is happening to us lies in the weak Muslim and Arab reaction. For him, the root cause of this problem is the state of weakness resulting from the division and fragmentation that has afflicted the nation. He then pointed out that the Noble Qur’an warns us about this in the verse that reads, “do not dispute with one another, or you would be discouraged and weakened”. Imam At-Tayyeb then commented, “The sorrow intensifies when we realize that we are peoples endowed with boundless sources of strength and pride and intensifies even further when we know that the manufacturing companies in America and the West depend primarily on these resources of our Arab and Islamic world.”

Imam At-Tayyeb expressed Al-Azhar’s readiness to establish an Arabic language center in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo to teach Muslims in Bosnia the language of the Qur’an and help them adhere to their Islamic identity. He also expressed Al-Azhar’s readiness to offer an unlimited number of scholarships for the students of Bosnia and Herzegovina to enroll in Al-Azhar University, and to host the Imams of Bosnia and Herzegovina for training at Al-Azhar International Academy for the Training of Imams and Preachers. This is also meant to raise the Imams’ skills and their ability to address contemporary issues, on top of which are integration and coexistence. He then indicated readiness to open a regional office for the Council of Muslim Elders in Sarajevo to serve the Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina and provide the necessary support to the Muslims of Europe.

For his part, Mr. Bećirović expressed his pleasure to be in Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif and to meet with the Grand Imam, declaring: “We are proud of the historical relationship that has linked our country with Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif, this great Islamic edifice”. He also noted that since the beginning of the eighteenth century to the present day, more than 300 eminent scholars have graduated from Al-Azhar and have become “venerable scholars in our country, participating in making our country’s renaissance and having a profound impact on the history of our nation”. He maintained that “Al-Azhar graduates enjoy great appreciation and high status among us, and fill various leadership, scientific, and academic positions in the country.”

Mr. Bećirović stressed that what is happening in Gaza is a stain on humanity and constitutes a moral crisis in the first place, pointing to the importance of the Human Fraternity Document, cosigned by HE the Grand Imam and HH Pope Francis. He illustrated that the document is the most important moral document in the modern era and that we should adhere to its principles and mainstream its provisions, especially in these times of humanitarian, economic, and social crises in various regions around the world.

Mr. Bećirović welcomed the establishment of an Arabic language center in Sarajevo and noted that he would follow up on the matter personally upon his return. He noted his country’s pride in its Islamic identity, its embracement of pluralism and diversity, and its keenness to provide the public general climate to embrace everyone and ensure their full rights.

Mr. Bećirović extended an official invitation to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, declaring, “In my capacity as Chairman of the Presidential Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I would like to invite Your Eminence to visit our country. We, as well as our people, will be happy with this historic visit.” Imam At-Tayyeb welcomed “the kind invitation”, stressing that he would schedule the visit as soon as possible.