Last month, the Sheikh of al-Azhar, Dr Ahmed al-Tayeb, visited
the German capital Berlin to attend the Protestant Church’s celebration marking five centuries since the start of the reformation. During his visit he met Germany’s president and a number of other ministers. This came after the visit of Pope Francis II to Egypt, on the invitation of the country’s top Imam, to attend a global conference
on peace held at al-Azhar from April 27-28. These high-level political meetings have once again sparked debate over demands for al-Azhar to play a greater role on the world stage to counter the growth of global terrorism. This in turn raises questions about al-Azhar’s growing role and how effective and successful it can be.