The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was visiting Cairo (Egypt) on 27-29 April 2017, upon invitation of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Mosque, Cheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayyib. He was invited by el-Tayyib to address the International Conference on Peace, during which Pope Francis, the WCC General Secretary Olav Fykse Tveit and the Grand Imam also spoke.
The simultaneous presence of Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros and the Coptic Patriarch Tawadros at the meeting in the great Sunni university, just a few days after the attacks in Coptic churches in Egypt that have bloodied Palm Sunday is a sign of unity of Christian unity, a significant call for peace in the world, during these difficult times with the winds of war blowing, while it also expresses the will to dialogue together with those Muslims who reject violence and justification of terrorism and massacres in the name of religion.
In his address, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew underlined that religious fundamentalism and acts of violence in the name religion give to the modern critiques of religion arguments against religion. “The truth is that violence is the negation of the fundamental religious beliefs and doctrine. True faith does not release humans from being responsible for the world, for respecting human dignity and for struggling for justice and peace” said the Patriarch. He stressed that what humanity expects from religion today is “to develop their own potentials of love, solidarity and compassion.”