"Culture and Human Building: The Spirit of Tolerance" on the Sidelines of the BA Book Fair

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The Bibliotheca Alexandrina organized yesterday a seminar entitled "Culture and Human Building: The Spirit of Tolerance", with the participation of Dr. Mohamed El-Mahdi, Professor of Psychiatry at Al-Azhar University; Dr. Nazir Ayyad, Secretary General of the Islamic Research Academy, Reverend Father Athanasius George, Pastor of the Monastery of Saint Mina in Alexandria; and Dr. Mohamed Al-Mahrasawi, former President of Al-Azhar University. The session was moderated by Dr. Ahmed Zayed, Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, on the sidelines of the eighteenth round of the BA International Book Fair.

Dr. Zayed stressed that tolerance is the basis on which all social aspects of life are based. He also pointed out the history of the prophets is full of enormous stories of tolerance, adding that although some analysts disagree on the concept of tolerance, it remains an ideal and not just a behavior.

Dr. Mohamed Al-Mahrasawi discussed the efforts of the sheikhdom of Al-Azhar in recent years to spread the culture of tolerance and peace, as it organized an international conference in 2017 on freedom and citizenship. During this conference the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, rejected the term "minority", which refers to isolationism, and demanded that it be replaced by the term "citizenship"; a term that invokes the first society founded by the Prophet in Medina.

Additionally, he emphasized that the principles of human rights that the world is now calling for were developed by Islam 1400 years ago, as it is a religion of peace that fosters the freedom of belief and respect for the faith of others. He also explained how Islam addressed the issue of violence, stressing that the principle of citizenship will only be achieved through tolerance.

Reverend Father Athanasius George said that tolerance contributes to building the human being and is part of the basic concepts of citizenship, and without it there will be no development or life, dialogue or acquaintance, noting that the most important characteristic of mankind is tolerance.

For his part, Dr. Nazir Ayyad praised the role of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in holding this seminar, which discusses an important issue of concern to the Egyptian society, explaining that culture and human building are the logical result of instilling tolerance in oneself.

He continued: "All religions share a common denominator, as they all agreed on a doctrinal basis, and were concerned with scientific and physical construction to achieve a kind of integration within society."

Meanwhile, Dr. Mohamed El-Mahdi explained that Al-Azhar Al-Sharif has become engaged with the problems facing society, and stated that, in 2022, Al-Azhar Global Fatwa Center was selected as the best government institution.