Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al Tayeb, along with the Minister of Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa and Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr inaugurated Saturday the 25th session of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Luxor.
The two-day conference includes representatives of 70 Arab and Islamic countries, as well as Islamic scholars, among whom the Palestinian Minister of Endowments and the Mufti of Jerusalem.
The conference tackles matters related to extremist thought, methods of combating terrorism and extremism, and renewing the religious discourse, state media reported. Participants announced they would intensify efforts to fight extremist thought and terrorist groups, and continue efforts to renew religious discourse to meet current demands.
During the opening session of the conference, Gomaa condemned Friday night’s attacks in Paris, which killed at least 120 people, stating that “terrorism has no religion”.
The Grand Mufti as well as the institution of Al-Azhar condemned the attacks. The Mufti called on French authorities to undertake all security precautions to protect the Muslim community in France against potential retaliatory measures taken as a result of blaming Muslims without proof for the incident.
According to Gomaa, the conference comes as a response to the “barbaric operations” conducted by extremist groups that target archaeological and cultural landmarks.
The opening session was attended by senior officials including the Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, the Minister of Antiquities, the Minister of Culture, Al-Azhar University President and Bishop Marcus on behalf of Pope Tawadros II.
In statements to MENA, Gomaa declared that a final statement would be issued by the end of the conference outlining the participants’ “unified vision” regarding the fight against extremism and terrorist groups including “Islamic State” (IS). The outcome of the conference will also include policy proposals in this regard.