By Mike Brooks, USPG
The Bishop of Egypt has paid tribute to a leading Muslim scholar who is helping to promote peace and tolerance among faith communities.
At Liverpool Hope University, recently, Bishop Mouneer Anis – guest speaker at this year’s USPG Annual Conference – presented His Eminence Sheikh Dr Ali Gomaa for an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters.
In the citation, Bishop Mouneer said: ‘Dr Gomaa is a firm believer in dialogue between faith communities and his views represent the authentic moderate Islamic teaching with its call for peace and tolerance.
‘In recent years he became especially concerned about the problem of extremism. In order to combat this extremism he founded one of the great foundations in Egypt actively involved in development, namely Misr el Khair.
‘Misr el Khair serves all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians in the area of education and the enabling of small enterprises, and provides primary health care. Misr el Khair, in partnership with the Anglican Hospital in Egypt, recently initiated a campaign to combat reversible blindness in the Delta of Egypt.’
Bishop Mouneer is himself supporting inter faith work through the Anglican Diocese of Egypt.
He recently told USPG: ‘The Anglican Church can play a bridging role with the other faiths. It seems that, though we are tiny, we are very active in inter faith in this region.’
Canon Huw Thomas, a former USPG Mission Companion in Egypt, commented: ‘To witness the courage of these two leaders of different faith communities in Egypt standing together, first in Liverpool's Catholic Cathedral where the award was presented, and later in the Al-Rahma Mosque, where Bishop Mouneer addressed a large gathering, gave us a renewed sense of hope in the possibility of healing some of the distorted views often held of our two faith traditions.’
The Revd Canon Edgar Ruddock, USPG Director, added: ‘USPG salutes both Bishop Mouneer and Dr Gomaa for their joint work in the cause of reconciliation, peace and mutual understanding. The world needs leaders able and willing to move out of their comfort zones and work with others to build a better world.’