News conference of Al-Azhar, French PM canceled for security reasons
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls - REUTERS
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CAIRO: A joint news conference of Al-Azhar Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls scheduled for Saturday was canceled, Youm7 reported.

The cancellation was decided Friday, and Youm7 learned that the headquarters of Al-Azhar in Cairo is witnessing tightened security. The visit, however, will go as planned, and Valls and his delegation will depart to Jordan later Saturday.

Al-Azhar has lately become the destination of many foreign officials as part of their visit to Egypt. The oldest and most prestigious religious institution in the Islamic world has been deeply involved in countering “extremist ideology” in the past two years, and has launched a number of initiative to reach out to Muslims in the West who might be vulnerable to recruitment by Islamic militants.

Most recently, Al-Azhar and Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa spoke at the Global Youth Summit Against Violent Extremism and the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism in New York last September.

In January, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi called on Al-Azhar to initiate a “religious revolution.”

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