More than 700 Islamic and Christian scholars from 120 states participated in Al-Azhar’s Cairo International Conference on Countering Extremism Wednesday.
“Terrorist organizations misinterpret Islamic laws; Islam legalizes jihad only for self-defense as a response to aggression,” Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb said in his speech.
He added that extremists’ twisted understanding of the religion is complex, because they also give themselves the right to declare other Muslims apostates and kill them.
“World peace will not be achieved if the Palestinian cause is not rapidly resolved,” Tayeb added.
On Tuesday, undersecretary of Al-Azhar Abbas Shoumnan and 11 other world faith leaders signed a declaration to eradicate modern slavery by 2020 at the Vatican.
“In the eyes of God, each human being is a free person, whether girl, boy, woman or man, and is destined to exist for the good of all in equality and fraternity,” the joint declaration said.
Prior to its release, the declaration used the “Gods,” but due to Shouman’s objection it came out with the word “God” and noted that the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar uses the world “religions.”
Modern slavery agreed upon includes human and organ trafficking, forced labor and prostitution, and any relationship that does not respect equality.
Shouman’s speech at the ceremony stressed that Islam does not promote slavery or its continuity, but rather encourages its abolition.