VATICAN CITY: The diplomatic representative of Egypt embassy to the Holy See, Ahmed Raffat, confirmed that senior Egyptian Islamic cleric Grand Mufti Dr. Shawky Abdel Karem will visit Rome on Monday to participate in the international conference ‘The Courage to Hope – religions and cultures in dialogue,’ MENA said today.
The conference will take place from September 29 through October 1. The visit is based on an invitation addressed to the Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb by the Community of St. Egidio.
The significant meeting between the Pope of the Catholic Church and the Grand Mufti reflects a positive step towards a religious dialogue that has been on hold for over two years, following the bombing of the church in Alexandria during the 2011 New Year’s Eve service, Raffat said. He said this is the first visit of an Al-Azhar representative to Rome since the statement by the former Pope, Benedict XVI, in January 2011 after the Alexandria church bombings. The attack resulted in the decision of Sheikh Al Azhar to freeze the dialogue committee.
His holiness, the Pope of the Catholic Church, is eager to restore religions dialogue and will meet the Grand Mufti in the opening session of the international conference, Raffat said.