DUBAI: Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Egypt’s leading Islamic institute, has expressed sadness over the fire that devastated large parts of the historic Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.
“I feel so sorry for the massive fire at the historical architectural masterpiece ‘Notre-Dame Cathedral’ in Paris, our hearts go out to our brothers in France, they deserve our full support,” in a tweet.
Al-Azhar Grand Imam: I feel so sorry for the massive fire at the historical architectural masterpiece "Notre Dame Cathedral" in Paris, our hearts go out to our brothers in France, they deserve our full support.#NotreDame#Paris#France pic.twitter.com/CLNMR1KVTG— الأزهر الشريف (@AlAzhar) April 15, 2019
Al-Tayeb also tweeted the same message in Arabic and French.
فضيلة #الإمام_الأكبر أ.د/ أحمد #الطيب #شيخ_الأزهر الشريف: أشعر بالحزن تجاه حريق #كاتدرائية_نوتردام بباريس، هذه التحفة المعمارية التاريخية، قلوبنا مع إخواننا فى #فرنسا، لهم منا كل الدعم#NotreDame#Paris#باريس— الأزهر الشريف (@AlAzhar) April 15, 2019
The fire is suspected to have started in the 850-year-old cathedral’s attic, where restoration works are being done.
Le Grand Imam d'Al-Azhar : j'exprime ma profonde tristesse à l'égard de l'incendie de la cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Paris, ce chef d'œuvre architectural... Tous nos soutiens à nos frères français.#NotreDame#Paris#France@EmmanuelMacron pic.twitter.com/dCPlrUQONu— الأزهر الشريف (@AlAzhar) April 15, 2019
The French fire brigade have yet to officially confirm the cause of the massive blaze, which destroyed the famous tourist attraction’s iconic spire and oak wood roof.
Firefighters managed finally to control of fire during the early hours of Tuesday.
The French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking from the scene, described the blaze as a “terrible tragedy” although the “worst had been avoided,” and promised Parisians that they will “rebuild this cathedral together.”
“Let’s be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we’ve built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it. So, I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together,” Macron told reporters.
The sense of shock at the damage was palpable and also stirred reactions from governments across the world.
In a rare statement, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II said she was "deeply saddened", while Pope Francis sent his hopes that Notre-Dame "may once again become, thanks to reconstruction work and the mobilisation of all, a jewel in the heart of the city." The Queen's son, Prince Charles, also shared his thoughts.
Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe sent a message saying his country would consider sending support. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a message published on the Kremlin's website that the tragedy "struck a chord in the hearts of Russians." He called Notre Dame a "priceless treasure of Christian and world culture" and said Russia is ready to send the "best specialists" to help rebuild it.
Elsewhere, Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri expressed sadness over the fire he described as a "heritage and humanitarian disaster." Hariri added in a tweet late Monday that Lebanon expresses strong solidarity with the "friendly French people."