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Al-Azhar Sheikh: Terrorist Groups are Tarnishing Islam - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Cairo – For the first time ever, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayeb visited Nigeria accompanied by a delegation. El-Tayeb called the terrorist group Boko Haram to repent.

El-Tayeb asked the international community to help the displaced civilians and refugees.

Analysts believe that Africa is undergoing a new struggle now with terrorist groups especially ISIS and the so-called ISIS of Nigeria, Boko Haram.

According to sources, al-Azhar has expressed fears of ISIS expanding in Africa to compensate its losses in Syria and Iraq especially after the attacks from the U.S.-led coalition.

El-Tayeb met with the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential palace in Abuja. Both parties discussed means to fight extremism.

In his speech directed to African people, el-Tayeb said that some of those who affiliate themselves with Islam are tarnishing its image with blood and carnage. He added that the portray of such image and constant display on TV has only one goal and that is to present Islam as a violent and blood-thirsty religion. El-Tayeb stressed that Islam is not violent and it is wrong to judge religions based on the act of some of its followers who have been misled and are misleading others. He emphasized that one can’t impose Islam by force and by waging wars on others.

Regarding ISIS, el-Tayeb said that it is a diabolic entity that is becoming successful in spreading hate among religions. He then called Boko Haram to repent and redeem themselves before it is too late.

El-Tayeb then visited a refugee camp in the Nigerian capital, Abuja and called international community to help the refugees.

In 2014, Boko Haram was responsible for killing over 6,644 in an estimated 317% increase than 2013. Boko Haram’s first attack outside of Nigeria was on the borders of Chad and Cameron where 520 were killed in Cameroon and six in Chad.

According to sources, al-Qaeda in Morocco sent Boko Haram weapons that were transferred from Libya through the Chad – Niger borders. Boko Haram recently pledged allegiance to ISIS, increasing its military powers.