13 February 2013

Egypt: Azhar Looks to Smooth Ties With Vatican

Egypt's Azhar (most prestigious Islamic institute) expressed on Wednesday its hope to restores ties with the Vatican in light the recent changes in the Roman Catholic Church, reported the Middle East News Agency.

Pope Benedict XVI, 85, announced on Monday that he is stepping down because of old age and declining health.

The Grand Sheikh of Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, has frozen all dialogue with the Vatican over what it called Pope Benedict's repeated insults towards Islam.

Benedict has urged the European Union to adopt effective measures to protect religious minorities in the Middle East, saying they showed the need to adopt effective measures to protect religious minorities.

He has said that there is "a strategy of violence that has Christians as a target," following a bombing of a church in Alexandria in 2011 which left 23 people dead.

Pope Benedict became the head of the Catholic Church in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.

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