CAIRO: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s participation in a Muslim rally against German anti-Islam protests “asserts peaceful coexistence, promoting peace and preventing the exclusion of religious minorities on the basis of terrorist incidents,” Al-Azhar said in a Wednesday Facebook statement.
“Al-Azhar appreciates the honorable position of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her participation in the Berlin rally yesterday, which was called for by Islamic organizations to condemn Islamophobia,” Al-Azhar, the most prestigious Islamic institution in the world stated.
The institution emphasized its respect to Merkel’s remarks that Islam is a part of Germany, and perceived it as a reference to the role of millions of Muslim Germans.
Amid ongoing “anti-Islamization” protests in Germany, Merkel urged German citizens not to take part in such protests as they discriminate against people “because of the color of [their] skin or [their] religion,” Reuters reported Dec. 31.
Merkel accused the organizers of the demonstrations of harboring “prejudice, coldness, even hatred, in their hearts.”
The statement of Al-Azhar, which has become significantly active on social media, is the second in a row on Wednesday; earlier it called on Muslims to “ignore the repellant imagination” of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons.
For his part, Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros rejected offenses made to religions, saying they are “inhuman and unethical,” do not contribute to world peace, and that no one benefits from them. The Pope’s remarks were made during a news conference Wednesday with Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch Mathias I, who is on a six-day visit to Egypt.