The Egyptian Sunni Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, on Tuesday condemned the beheading of a professor in France, “a heinous criminal act”, while maintaining however that insulting religions in the name of freedom of The expression constitutes “an appeal to hatred”.
He spoke from a distance in a speech read in Rome, on the famous Place du Capitole, in front of a prestigious audience of religious leaders of Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism – including Pope Francis, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Chief Rabbi. of France Haïm Korsia- who met on Tuesday to sign a common appeal for peace
“As a Muslim and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, I declare that Islam, its teachings and its prophet have nothing to do with this heinous criminal act,” said the Grand Sunni Imam in Arabic in this speech. “At the same time, I insist that insulting religions and attacking their sacred symbols in the name of freedom of expression is a double intellectual standard and a call to hatred,” he added.
The Sunni Islamic institution had qualified at the beginning of September as a “criminal act” the republication in front page of the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo of the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on the occasion of the trial of the jihadist attacks of January 2015 in France. And in October she had judged “racist” the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron against “Islamist separatism”, denouncing “accusations” against Islam.