Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Vatican meeting to discuss Document on Human Fraternity

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Vatican meeting to discuss Document on Human Fraternity
This joint statement, which was signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Sheikh Al-Tayeb on Feb. 4, 2019, in Abu Dhabi, includes various proposed solutions from a religious standpoint to the current problems facing the world. (File/AFP)
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Updated 06 December 2021

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Vatican meeting to discuss Document on Human Fraternity

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Vatican meeting to discuss Document on Human Fraternity
  • The two discussed their vision of what the relationship between followers of religions should be
  • Last month, Sheikh Al-Tayeb met Pope Francis on the sidelines of the Religious Leaders on Climate Change summit

CAIRO: Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, held a meeting in the Vatican with Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayuso, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, to discuss how to implement the provisions of the Document on Human fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.

This joint statement, which was signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Sheikh Al-Tayeb on Feb. 4, 2019, in Abu Dhabi, includes various proposed solutions from a religious standpoint to the current problems facing the world.

During the meeting Sheikh Al-Tayeb said that “the relationship of Al-Azhar and the Vatican remains an effective and real model for spreading tolerance and peace and combating extremism, hatred, wars and conflicts, and that the path of peace and dialogue is a difficult path, but the path is moving and making efforts,” adding that the world is in urgent need of the values of brotherhood, peaceful coexistence and respect for the other.

He stressed that religious leaders and scholars have a religious and societal duty to confront negative phenomena, especially with regard to moral aspects.

The two discussed their vision of what the relationship between followers of religions should be, and the role that religions should play in our contemporary world. The document seeks to activate dialogue about coexistence among human beings.

Ayuso said that the Grand Imam and His Holiness Pope Francis had the courage to fight battles for the good of humanity, and that the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity was not an easy thing.

But their persistence and sincerity helped to break barriers and repair broken bridges between some Muslims and Christians, and continued the dialogue between Al-Azhar and the Vatican after a rupture of nearly six years. They said they had begun to reap the fruits of this document in a rapprochement not only at the level of official institutions and institutes, but also between individuals among the wider masses.

Ayuso spoke about the great efforts of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity that emerged from the document, noting that this committee includes religious and cultural leaders from different ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds around the world.

He said that even in their diversity the members of the committee represent a group of friends loyal to their humanity, united by their concern to work for mankind and end its suffering. They seek to replace hatred with love and intolerance with dialogue, especially between young people, to ensure healthy relations and a better future for coming generations.

Last month, Sheikh Al-Tayeb met Pope Francis on the sidelines of the Religious Leaders on Climate Change summit, where they said that returning to the teachings of religions is the way to save the world from extremism and division.


Arab League convenes to discuss Houthi aggression on UAE

Arab League convenes to discuss Houthi aggression on UAE
Updated 54 min 5 sec ago

Arab League convenes to discuss Houthi aggression on UAE

Arab League convenes to discuss Houthi aggression on UAE

DUBAI: The Arab League is holding a meeting Sunday to discuss the Houthi militia’s latest attempt to attack the UAE.

Last week, drones launched from Yemen struck Abu Dhabi’s airport and three separate fuel tankers, killing three people and wounding seven.

The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, strongly condemned the attack on civilian areas and facilities in the UAE, stressing that the League stands with its member state in the face of these violations, which work to destabilize the security and stability of the region.

The diplomatic adviser to the President of the UAE, Anwar Gargash, stressed that his country will not hesitate to defend its sovereignty and national security, and it has the legal and moral right to respond and prevent any aggression on its territory.

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US navy stops ship carrying ‘explosive precursor’ from Iran

US navy stops ship carrying ‘explosive precursor’ from Iran
Updated 23 January 2022

US navy stops ship carrying ‘explosive precursor’ from Iran

US navy stops ship carrying ‘explosive precursor’ from Iran

MANAMA: The US navy said Sunday it had stopped a ship carrying 40 tons of a fertiliser that can be used to make explosives as it travelled from Iran along a route previously used to smuggle weapons to Yemen's Huthi rebels.
The navy said it boarded and searched the ship, which last year was caught carrying thousands of weapons and handed to Yemen's coast guard, after intercepting it in international waters in the Gulf of Oman on Tuesday.
A US guided-missile destroyer and patrol ship "interdicted the stateless vessel transiting from Iran... along a route historically used to traffic weapons to the Huthis in Yemen," the Bahrain-based US 5th Fleet said.
"US forces discovered 40 tons (36,300 kilos) of urea fertiliser, a chemical compound with agricultural applications that is also known to be used as an explosive precursor," it added.


Seoul says it paid Iran’s delinquent UN dues to restore vote

Seoul says it paid Iran’s delinquent UN dues to restore vote
Updated 23 January 2022

Seoul says it paid Iran’s delinquent UN dues to restore vote

Seoul says it paid Iran’s delinquent UN dues to restore vote
  • Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment
  • The ministry said it expected Iran’s voting rights to be restored immediately after their suspension earlier this month for delinquent dues

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Using Iranian bank funds freed from American sanctions, South Korea has paid Iran’s $18 million in delinquent dues owed to the United Nations, Seoul said Sunday. The step was apparently approved by Washington to restore Tehran’s suspended voting rights at the world body.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Seoul had paid the sum using Iranian assets frozen in the country after consulting with the United States Treasury — a potential signal of flexibility amid floundering nuclear negotiations.
The ministry said it expected Iran’s voting rights to be restored immediately after their suspension earlier this month for delinquent dues.
The funds had been impounded at a Korean bank under sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump after he withdrew the US from Tehran’s landmark nuclear deal with world powers. The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control must grant a license for these transactions under the American banking sanctions imposed on Iran. The Treasury did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the unfrozen funds.
The Biden administration wants to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, which granted Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
Diplomats are now engaged in delicate negotiations to revive the accord in Vienna, although a breakthrough remains elusive as Iran abandons every limitation the deal imposed on its nuclear enrichment. The country now enriches a small amount of to 60 percent purity — a short, technical step away from weapons grade levels — and spins far more advanced centrifuges than allowed.
Under the United Nations Charter, a nation that owes the previous two full years’ worth of dues loses its voting rights at the General Assembly.
A letter from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres circulated earlier this month revealed that Iran was among several delinquent countries on that list, which also includes Venezuela and Sudan. The General Assembly can make exceptions to the rule, determining that some countries face circumstances “beyond the control of the member.”
According to the secretary-general’s letter, Iran needed to pay a minimum of $18.4 million to restore its voting rights.
Iran also lost its voting rights in January of last year, prompting Tehran to lash out at the US for imposing crushing sanctions that froze billions of dollars in Iranian funds in banks around the world. Tehran regained voting rights last June after making the minimum payment on its dues.
Iran over the past few years has pressured Seoul to release about $7 billion in revenues from oil sales that remain frozen in South Korean banks since the Trump administration tightened sanctions on Iran.
The frozen funds hang in the balance as diplomats struggle to revive the nuclear deal. Senior South Korean diplomats including Choi Jong Kun, the first vice foreign minister, flew to Vienna this month to discuss the fate of the assets with their Iranian counterparts.


Migrant boat sinks off Tunisia coast; 4 dead, 7 missing

Migrant boat sinks off Tunisia coast; 4 dead, 7 missing
Updated 22 January 2022

Migrant boat sinks off Tunisia coast; 4 dead, 7 missing

Migrant boat sinks off Tunisia coast; 4 dead, 7 missing
  • Defense Ministry spokesman said navy divers rescued 21 people on Thursday night and 7 were still missing
  • Local media reported that a 10-year-old girl was among those who died

TUNIS: Four people died after a boat carrying Europe-bound migrants on the Mediterranean Sea sank off Tunisia’s coast, the Tunisian Defense Ministry said Friday.
Defense Ministry spokesman Mohamed Zekri said navy divers rescued 21 people on Thursday night and seven were still missing. The boat was heading to Italy, Zekri said.
Local media reported that a 10-year-old girl was among those who died.
Survivors told authorities that the boat had left the island of Kerkennah, near the port city of Sfax, carrying 32 Tunisians.
The UN has estimated that 20 percent of about 115,000 migrants who reached Europe by sea last year started the journey from Tunisia. Social unrest has gripped the North African country has for years as the economy worsened and unemployment reached 18 percent.
The central Mediterranean route, which runs from North Africa to southern Italy, is the busiest and deadliest migration route to Europe. People travel from Libya and Tunisia in crowded boats and at the mercy of the smugglers they pay to get them across the sea.
About 60,000 people arrived in Italy by sea last year, and some 1,200 died or disappeared on the journey, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
On Wednesday, an amphibious unit of Tunisia’s navy rescued 23 people from a sinking boat as they left Tunisia for Italy, according to the Tunisian Defense ministry. It said 13 of the passengers were from Mali and 10 were from the Ivory Coast.


Syrian boy to receive four prosthetic limbs in Italy

Thanks to donations totalling €114,000 ($129,000), Mustafa Al-Nazzar, 6, will be treated by world-leading doctors at the INAIL prosthetic center near Bologna. (Reuters/Illustrative)
Thanks to donations totalling €114,000 ($129,000), Mustafa Al-Nazzar, 6, will be treated by world-leading doctors at the INAIL prosthetic center near Bologna. (Reuters/Illustrative)
Updated 22 January 2022

Syrian boy to receive four prosthetic limbs in Italy

Thanks to donations totalling €114,000 ($129,000), Mustafa Al-Nazzar, 6, will be treated by world-leading doctors at the INAIL prosthetic center near Bologna. (Reuters/Illustrative)
  • 6-figure donation will send 6-year-old born with no limbs to world-class clinic
  • Condition believed to have been caused by Assad regime gas attack during mother’s pregnancy

LONDON: A Syrian child born with no limbs after his mother endured a gas attack during her pregnancy is set to receive four prosthetic replacements in Italy following a charity campaign.

Thanks to donations totalling €114,000 ($129,000), Mustafa Al-Nazzar, 6, will be treated by world-leading doctors at the INAIL prosthetic center near Bologna.

“It will be a complicated job, but we aim to allow Mustafa to live an autonomous life,” said Gregorio Teti, technical director of the center that has worked with Alex Zanardi, the Formula One driver who lost his legs in a crash. 

Al-Nazzar’s mother was pregnant when the Syrian regime dropped gas bombs on Idlib province in 2016. The event has been linked to the boy’s condition.

Like so many others caught up in the regime’s oppression and the ongoing conflict, the family fled to Turkey, where Al-Nazzar was photographed being held in the air by his father, who lost a leg following a bomb attack. 

The famous photo captures their beaming smiles despite the suffering they have both endured.

The photographer was honored by the Siena International Photo Awards, which diverted the world’s eyes to the photo, inspiring the organizers of the prize to launch a charity appeal for Al-Nazzar.

“We feared that after the attention to the photo died down, the boy would get no help,” said Luca Venturi, the prize founder.

The Italian government has assisted with visas to bring the whole family to Italy, including Al-Nazzar’s two younger sisters. The Catholic Church has offered the family an apartment. 

Teti said Al-Nazzar’s new limbs could be adjusted to work thanks to small movements the boy makes in his shoulders and torso, which will require lengthy training sessions. 

Venturi said: “As he grows he will need to change limbs, while translators will be needed until the family can learn Italian. We are aiming to get to €400,000 raised.”

Al-Nazzar’s father told Italian media: “Mustafa is really happy, he has said he will finally be able to walk, hug me and go to school on his own.”