x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Grand Imam hails UAE move to release 103 Egyptian prisoners

The decision by Sheikh Khalifa, the President, to release 103 Egyptian prisoners has been welcomed by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed El Tayyeb.

ABU DHABI // A decision by President Sheikh Khalifa to release 103 Egyptian prisoners has been welcomed by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed El Tayyeb.

Sheikh Khalifa also pledged to settle the financial obligations of the prisoners, whose release was announced on Monday.

In addition to supervising Cairo's Al Azhar Mosque, Dr El Tayyeb is president of Al Azhar University. He expressed his appreciation of Sheikh Khalifa's decision to fund projects worth Dh250 million at the university, the state news agency Wam reported.

"This is extremely generous," he said. "The move follows the construction of the Zayed Institute for Teaching Arabic for Non-Native Speakers, which was funded by the UAE to qualify students willing to pursue studies at Al Azhar University."

Dr El Tayyeb, who has been visiting the UAE, said he was pleased to have met Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, who sent a private jet to bring him to Dubai.

"This was a generous gesture by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed," said Dr El Tayyeb. "We met, spent a good time and talked about Al Azhar, its relations and the historic ties with the UAE."

He said Sheikh Mohammed had expressed a willingness to support Al Azhar in spreading the message of moderate Islam.

Afterwards the Dubai Ruler said on Twitter that Dr El Tayyeb was "known for his honourable stances on various Islamic issues".

He added: "Al Azhar will remain a beacon of knowledge and Egypt will continue to hold some of the most important cultural and educational destinations."

csimpson@thenational.ae