The Minister of Political Affairs of Sierra Leone extends an official invitation to the Grand Imam to visit the country

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His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof. Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, received Tuesday morning at Al-Azhar headquarters, H.E. Amara Kallon, Minister of Public Administration and Political Affairs of the Republic of Sierra Leone, accompanied by a high-level delegation to discuss ways to enhance scientific cooperation, and to benefit from the experiences of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif in the field of Islamic dawah.

The Grand Imam welcomed the Sierra Leonean minister and his accompanying delegation to Al-Azhar and stressed that Al-Azhar cherishes ties with Sierra Leone. His Eminence pointed out that Al-Azhar is happy to receive dozens of male and female students to study at the various educational levels therein, and that it provides 10 scholarships for Sierra Leoneans to study at Al-Azhar University. In addition, Al-Azhar has 35 envoys in Sierra Leone to spread Al-Azhar curriculum and teach sharia and Arabic sciences to the people of Sierra Leone.

His Eminence affirmed Al-Azhar’s readiness to establish a center for teaching the Arabic language in Sierra Leone, to teach the people of Sierra Leone the language of the Holy Qur’an and Islamic sciences, and to qualify students wishing to enroll at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He also stressed Al-Azhar’s readiness to increase the scholarships offered to the people of Sierra Leone to the number needed to achieve the country's renaissance in various fields, in addition to receiving Sierra Leonean imams to study at Al-Azhar Global Academy for Training Imams, Preachers, and Fatwa Researchers. The Imams are trained according to specialized academic curricula designed to raise their skills to refute suspicions raised about Islam and spread the values of tolerance and coexistence.

The Sierra Leonean minister said that he conveys to His Eminence the greetings of the President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, and his appreciation for His Eminence's efforts in spreading the values of fraternity and coexistence. He thanked the Grand Imam for his continued support for the people of Sierra Leone through sending Al-Azhar's envoys to the country and his care for Sierra Leonean students who are studying at Al-Azhar, who possess the morals and the serious desire to acquire knowledge, and who contribute to the renaissance of Sierra Leone after their graduation and return to Sierra Leone. Such students assume leadership positions in various bodies and institutions in Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leonean minister presented an official invitation to the Grand Imam to visit Sierra Leone. He said the Sierra Leonean people are awaiting this visit with great passion. The Sierra Leonean minister also welcomed the proposal of the Grand Imam to train Sierra Leonean imams at Al-Azhar Global Academy for Training Imams, Preachers, and Fatwa Researchers, and his country’s reliance on Al-Azhar Al-Sharif to raise their skills in dealing with contemporary issues, and to create religious leaders capable of qualifying young people and raising their awareness of the importance of education. 

He noted that Sierra Leone seeks to eradicate illiteracy, and therefore has allocated more than 20% of the state’s general budget to support education, stating, “We are interested in teaching our children science, medicine, engineering, and modern technology. Without the presence of qualified people in these fields, we will not be able to keep up with global development, combined with a commitment to ethics. So, we would like to send more of our children to Al-Azhar to study and get training, especially in the fields of medicine and engineering.”

The Grand Imam welcomed the training of Sierra Leonean doctors at the Faculty of Medicine of Al-Azhar University, and the design of a cooperation program for medical students at Al-Azhar University hospitals. He directed Al-Azhar leaders to discuss and coordinate with the Sierra Leone embassy in Cairo to implement it as soon as possible and to meet the needs of the Sierra Leonean people.

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