Cairo, 27 Safar 1434/9 January 2013 (MINA) – Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb will meet with Iran’s foreign minister in Cairo on Thursday afternoon, according to Egypt Independent (EI) report received by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA) Wednesday (9/1).
EI reported that Tayyeb and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi would review the latest developments in the Arab and Islamic arenas, and what Al-Azhar could possibly do to help achieve national reconciliation in Egypt.
Iran and Egypt severed ties after Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, due to the Egyptian government’s support for the overthrown Shah and its peace agreement with Israel. Both nations have long vied for power in the Middle East.
Egypt has been allied with the US and Israel for decades, but since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak relations between Cairo and Tehran have warmed.
President Mohamed Morsy’s visit to Iran in August was the first by an Egyptian president since the Iranian revolution.
On March 19, 2010 Ahmed El Tayeb was appointed by Hosni Mubarak as the Great Sheikh of Al-Azhar, the most prominent Sunni Islamic institution in Egypt. El Tayeb was the rector of Al-Azhar University in Cairo.
El Tayeb replaced Sheikh Mohammed Sayyid Tantawi, who died in a heart attack on March 10, 2010 in Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Tantawi dies at the age of 81 years.
Earlier, El-Tayeb was a National Grand Mufti of Egypt (Government Adviser on Religious Affairs) and appointed as a rector of Al-Azhar replaced Prof. Dr. Ahmed Omar Hashim that has ended its term for three periods.
Besides known as a religion philosopher, he is fluent in French. In addition to writing a number of books, as well as dozens of books translated from French into Arabic and vice versa. He wrote a number of books about science, Marxism, Islamic philosophy, and Islamic culture.
In 2006 he had criticized the military-style parade of students who become members of Brotherhood (IM) at the University of Al-Azhar.
Scholars said that the Al-Azhar Sheikh traditionally appointed by the government is a moderate who did not make major changes to the policy or teaching. (T/R-010/R-006)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)