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Al-Azhar's Tayyeb calls on Muslims to 'embrace' Christians

Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyeb kisses Pope Francis

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb called on Muslims in the Middle East to “embrace” local Christian communities, Reuters reported.

Tayyeb 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 Tayyeb also called on Muslims in the West to integrate in their host nations and respect local laws.

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