Pope Francis, Egyptian Imam to speak at UN Security Council meeting
The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, based in Egypt, Ahmed el-Tayeb, have been selected to deliver joint speech on peace at the UN Security Council meeting in June, 2023, in New York, United States.
The two world’s most distinguished religious leaders, for the first time, received an official invitation from the United Nations Security Council to deliver a historic speech during its meeting.
The invitation stated that the speeches of the celebrated religious leaders will be delivered before a high-level session of the council titled: “The Importance of Human Fraternity Values in Promoting and Sustaining Peace,” at the UN’s headquarters.
“The United Arab Emirates, which will be holding the Security Council’s presidency, will highlight pressing and urgent humanitarian issues and try to take serious steps toward establishing security and ending conflicts around the world,” the invitation stated.
The two religious leaders will, however, confirm this month if they will be available for the task.
The historic speeches will come at a time the world is experiencing incessant disputes, fights and wars.
The war in Ukraine has entered its second year and the latest fighting in Sudan could undermine already delicate situation in Central, North and West Africa.
This, meanwhile would be the first time the Security Council will host two religious leaders as prominent as Pope Francis and Sheikh Tayeb.
In January 2011, the relationship between Al-Azhar and the Vatican went sour following the remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI on Islam and Muslims, which were interpreted by some in Egypt as accusing Muslims of persecuting adherents of other religions in the Middle East and calling for intervention to protect them.
Tayeb’s visit to the Vatican and his first meeting with Pope Francis in May 2016 brought a breath of fresh air for Al-Azhar and the Vatican. The meeting motivated Pope Francis’ trip to Egypt in 2017.
Since then, nine meetings between the grand imam and the pope have taken place.