CAIRO: Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, arrived in Paris Tuesday to take part in an international conference titled “East and West: Dialogue of Civilizations,” state newspaper Al Ahram reported.
The leader of the most prestigious Sunni Islam institution is scheduled to deliver the inaugural speech at the conference after his meeting with French President François Hollande.
El-Tayeb flew to Paris from the Vatican after a historic meeting with Pope Francis on Monday signaling a step forward in Muslim-Catholic ties which became strained during Pope Benedict XVI’s tenure.
“The meeting is the message,” the pope told el-Tayeb as he was approaching him just inside the door of the papal library, according to the Associated Press.
At the end of the meeting, Pope Francis presented the grand imam a peace medallion depicting an olive tree holding two pieces of a fractured rock together.