On Monday 23rd May 2016 Pope Francis held an historic meeting with Egypt’s Grand Imam of al Azhar, Ahmed al Tayyeb; He is considered by some Muslims to be the highest authority in Sunni Islam.
Iman Ahmed al Tayyeb said, “I come from the Middle East where I live and I suffer, along with others, the consequences of the rivers of blood and cadavers, and there is no logical reason for this catastrophe that we are living day and night.” He added, “Islam has nothing to do with this terrorism, and this applies to Ulama Muslims and to Christians and Muslims in the East… Those who kill Muslims, and who also kill Christians, have misunderstood the texts of Islam either intentionally or by negligence.”
He described Pope Francis as, “A man of peace, a man who follows the teaching of Christianity, which is a religion of love and peace… we have seen that he is a man who respects other religions and shows consideration for their followers; he is man who also consecrates his life to serve the poor and the destitute, and who takes responsibility for people in general.”
Iman Ahmed al Tayyeb appealed, “To the world and to the free men of the world: to come to an agreement immediately and to intervene to put an end to these rivers of blood.”
Pope Francis, two days later, appealed to a gather audience in St Peter’s Square to pray for the estimated 160 people killed people killed on Monday 23rd May in the cities of Jableh and Tartus in Syria. He said, “Pray to the merciful Father, pray to the Madonna, that God might give eternal rest to the victims, and consolation to their families…and might convert the hearts of those who sow death and destruction.”