On Wednesday, al-Maydān published an interview with Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyib, the Grand Imām of the Azhar.
Al-Tayyib said that those who carried out the bombing of the Church of the Two Saints in Alexandria on New Year’s Day are “enemies of the Prophet.”
The interviewer told the Grand Imām that some Egyptians had commented that his visit to Pope Shenouda after the bombing was confirmation that Muslims had carried out the attack and that the visit was tantamount to an apology.
After being told by the interviewer that some Egyptians consider the Grand Imām’s post-attack visit to Pope Shenouda to be an apology, al-Tayyib responded that he, like Pope Shenouda, is from southern Egypt, where the offering of condolences is a duty.
“I felt that such an act was directed against Egypt as a whole…it was an expression of solidarity between the brothers of one nation,” said al-Tayyib.
Regarding the recent Azhar decision to freeze dialogue with the Vatican following Pope Benedict’s alleged intervention in Coptic affairs, the Grand Imām said that “we could never criticize someone like the Vatican Pope” if his statements did not represent illegitimate interference in sovereign Egyptian matters.
Al-Tayyib added, “We are waiting for the Vatican Pope to make an initiative in directing a good word toward Muslims, which would dispel their fears and remove some of the [negative] holdovers and misunderstandings that arose because of previous statements.”