Egypt’s religious leaders are spreading a message of peace, justice and fraternity in Africa.

An African editors tour of the capital, Cairo, included an audience with the Grand Imam, Dr Ahmed al-Tayeb of Al-Azar, Egypt, as well as Pope Tawadros 11, of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

Al-Azhar is more than an historic mosque founded in Cairo in 970AD: it is a vital Egyptian institution that, 1 000 years later plays an important role within the country and beyond.

Islamic clerics and scholars do not get involved in politics, says Imam Al-Tayeb, but they do participate in the national discourse, work towards social upliftment and conflict resolution, and serve everyone regardless of religion with compassion and in the interests of peace.

The Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism works to counter misinterpretations of Islam and put a stop to hate in the name of religion, while its Convoys spread the message of tolerance and offer practical support in countries, including Chad, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan, he said.