Al Azhar Grand Imam invited to speak at World Cup
Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb was invited to speak during the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup scheduled to be held 12 June-13July, Brazil, by the Brazilian ambassador to Cairo Marco Brandão Tuesday.

During the meeting Brandão affirmed the important role of Al Azhar institution in spreading the values of peace and prosperity, in supporting stability and renouncing violence, reported Al-Shorouq.

“The invitation represents a global recognition of the significant role of Al Azhar in establishing principals of moderate Islam amid the notable increase of terrorism,” said Brandão, Shorouq reported.

Mohamed Mehanna, adviser to Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh, told The Cairo Post that the invitation “emphasizes the fact that the moderate Islamic concepts of Al Azhar are honored by the whole world.”

“Islam calls on practicing sports to keep the body fit and healthy. Millions of people will watch this great event and will get to know more about Islam through the speech of the Grand Imam,” said Mehanna.

The invitation comes a month after Fifa head Sepp Blatter announced that there would be no speeches at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in June for the fear of jeering by protesting fans.

Blatter’s decision came after the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was booed last year by fans at the opening match of the Confederations Cup, a curtain-raiser for the World Cup. In the following days, mass protests swept through Brazil amid anger over the lack of investment in public services linked to the cost of hosting the World Cup.

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