Grand Imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar Calls on Middle East to 'Embrace' Christians

'You are part of this nation. You are citizens, you are not a minority,' Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb said at an event in Abu Dhabi with Pope Francis

Pope Francis and Egypt's Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb greet each other during the Human Fraternity Meeting at the Founders Memorial, Abu Dhabi, February 4, 2019.
AFP

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque and university, called on Muslims in the Middle East to "embrace" local Christian communities.
 
He addressed Muslims saying: "Continue to embrace your brothers the Christian citizens everywhere, for they are our partners in our nation," he said during a televised speech from a ceremony in the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi, also attended by Pope Francis.

Then he addressed Christians saying: "You are part of this nation. You are citizens, you are not a minority.. You are citizens with full rights and responsibilities."

Sheikh Tayeb also called on Muslims in the west to integrate in their host nations and respect local laws.

Egypt has relied on Azhar's clerics in its battle against militant Islam. Al-Azhar hosted Pope Francis in 2017 to improve relations between Catholics and Muslims.