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Prominent Muslim leader to give peace lecture

Prominent Muslim leader to give peace lecture

The grand imam of Al-Azhar speaking at an event co-organized by the WCC, 2016. Photo: Emelie Hjerth/WCC

23 September 2016

The grand imam of Cairo’s prestigious Al-Azhar mosque and university is to visit the World Council of Churches (WCC) to give a public lecture and participate in high-level consultations on interreligious peacemaking.

Prof. Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb was chosen as grand imam of the Cairo mosque in 2010 and has outspokenly advocated religious dialogue and peace as a strong critic of religious extremism. In the early part of 2016, he made news around the world when he made a historic visit to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis and also to Paris, France, six months after terrorist attacks there.

On Saturday 1 October at 4 p.m. CET, the grand imam will speak at the Ecumenical Institute Bossey on "The Responsibility of Religious Leaders for Achieving World Peace". The speech, in Arabic, will have simultaneous translation into French and English.

An expert in Islamic philosophy and law, Tayyeb espouses comprehensive reforms of religious education and he is a frequent guest and influential speaker at consultations throughout the world on Islamic identity, combating terrorism, and dialogue for peace.

His visit will also include consultations with the leadership of the WCC’s Central Committee, including moderator Dr Agnes Abuom; vice-moderator Bishop Mary Ann Swenson; Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, vice-moderator and the general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.

“We are honoured to welcome one of the world’s highest ranking and most influential Muslim leaders to Geneva, and I very much look forward to his lecture and to sharing views with him on the many challenges that we as religious persons and leaders face together,” says Tveit.

The visit of the Grand Imam coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Ecumenical Institute at Chateau de Bossey, where thousands of women and men from all over the world have attended academic studies, seminars and conferences since its inauguration in 1946.

“I can’t think of a more appropriate place and time for such a prominent and highly respected advocate of religious dialogue to hold a lecture on peace-building”, says the director of the institute, Rev. Dr Ioan Sauca.

Accredited press are welcome to attend:

On Saturday 1 October at 4 p.m. CET, the grand imam will speak on "The Responsibility of Religious Leaders for Achieving World Peace" at the Ecumenical Institute Bossey. A recording of the lecture will be made available via the WCC YouTube channel by Sunday 2 October.

More specific details about venues and exact times will follow.
Meanwhile, please contact the WCC Communication department at for accreditation and further information.

For further information, please contact Marianne Ejdersten, WCC director of communication, via email: or telephone: +41.79.507.6363.

Download the accreditation form (MS Word)

Read also:

Information on the Ecumenical Institute anniversary programme

WCC work on Inter-religious Dialogue and Cooperation