Egypt’s Grand Mufti makes official visit to India – Middle East Monitor

Egypt’s Grand Mufti, Dr Shawki Allam, embarked on a six-day official visit to India yesterday, as part of efforts to enhance cultural ties and interfaith dialogue.

According to the Hindustan Times, Dr Allam made the trip at the invitation of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), an autonomous body under the Ministry of External Affairs. The senior cleric will also be accompanied by officials of the Egyptian embassy in New Delhi and will travel to Agra, Aligarh, Jaipur and Hyderabad.

Today he visited the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), India’s oldest Muslim university and one of the oldest universities in Asia where he addressed students on the topic of “Dialogue Among Civilisations”.

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ICCR president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe was quoted as saying the mufti’s visit is in line with ICCR’s activities to strengthen India’s ties with other countries. “This visit is a normal practice. It is a cultural relations enhancement initiative, at the core of which is deepening of understanding of Indian culture,” he said.

Ahead of his visit to India, Dr Allam wrote in an article that “This is the message I wish to deliver on behalf of the Muslim world in India this week,” referring to statements by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the need for cooperation and bridge-building in a challenging world.

The mufti’s trip to India comes more than three months after Al-Sisi’s visit to New Delhi where he was invited to attend the 74th Republic Day celebrations as a Chief Guest. A military contingent of the Egyptian army also participated in the event’s main parade. During Al-Sisi’s three-day state visit, the two countries agreed to elevate bilateral relations and to boost trade.

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