The Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted on Tuesday, November 16 from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm ET a virtual discussion surrounding the visit of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to Iraq. Considered to be the world’s highest Sunni Islamic authority, the landmark tour will take Grand Imam Ahmed Mohamed El-Tayeb and a senior delegation of Azhari scholars to stops that include Baghdad, Najaf, Erbil, and Mosul.

As the Al-Azhar is the highest scholarly institution for Sunnis, Najaf is the oldest and most important Shia seminary where senior Shia authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani resides. Sistani’s last high-profile meeting was with Pope Francis in Najaf in March 2021 and was also the pontiff’s first visit to Iraq.

The conversation included Dr. Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, Imam Mohamed Magid, Executive Imam at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center, and Dr. Marsin al-Shamary, Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative, and moderated by Dr. Abbas Kadhim, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative.

The event was open to the press and on-the-record.

A conversation with

Dr. Juan Cole
Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History
University of Michigan

Imam Mohamed Magid
Executive Imam
All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center

Dr. Marsin al-Shamary
Research Fellow, Middle East Initiative
Harvard Kennedy School

Moderated by

Dr. Abbas Kadhim
Director, Iraq Initiative
Atlantic Council

Iraq Initiative

Provides transatlantic and regional policy makers with unique perspectives and analysis on the ongoing challenges and opportunities facing Iraq as the country tries to build an inclusive political system, attract economic investment, and encourage a vibrant civil society.