Shaikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: Muslim and Christian delegates from more than 50 countries will gather Tuesday in the Egyptian capital Cairo to discuss coexistence based on respect for freedom and citizenship.

The two-day conference, entitled “Freedom, Citizenship, Diversity and Integration”, is co-organised by Egypt’s prestigious Islamic Centre of Al Azhar and the Muslim Council of Elders based in the UAE.

Grand Shaikh of Al Azhar Ahmad Al Tayyeb and Coptic Pope Tawadros II are leading Muslim and Christian clerics and scholars at the gathering held under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi.

They include heads of the Oriental Orthodox churches as well as Muslim and Christian intellectuals.

The participants are looking into coexistence in the Arab world between the Muslim majority and the Christian minority, exploring future challenges with the aim of formulating a promising vision for humanity.

Speakers at the conference are expected to highlight the Arab Islamic-Christian coexistence and diversity experience in its Oriental and global dimensions, together with the current problems and challenges, organisers said.

Other topics on the agenda include freedom-diversity interrelation as well as state authorities’ role in safeguarding freedoms and diversity. Another key topic focuses on Muslim-Christian joint action to tackle fanaticism, militancy and terrorism with a view to stopping manipulation of religion in disputes.

The conference is held amid regional turbulence and radical violence. Over the past few days, dozens of Egyptians from the country’s minority Christian community have fled the Sinai Peninsula due to a string of deadly attacks by Islamist extremists there.

Elsewhere, Christians have been subjected to abuses by Daesh terrorist in Syria and Iraq.

Participants in the Cairo conference will adopt a declaration from Al Azhar emphasising coexistence between Muslims and Christians.

The pact calls on followers of Islam and Christianity to live together in harmony and respect principles of citizenship, freedom, participation and diversity.

Launched in July 2014 in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, the Muslim Council of Elders (MCE) is an independent international institution aimed at promoting peace in the Muslim communities, eliminating sectarianism and espousing Islam’s humanitarian values of tolerance and moderation.

The MCE is composed of prominent Muslim scholars, experts and dignitaries.

Shaikh Al Tayyeb, who formerly served as Egypt’s Grand Mufti, will chairing the council.

Board members include Grand Mufti of Dubai Ahmad Al Haddad; Mauritanian Abdullah Bin Bayyah, the president of the Forum for Promoting Peace in the Muslim Societies; and Kaltham Al Muhairi, a professor at the Institute of Islamic World Studies at Zayed University in the UAE.

The council also comprises members from Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Sudan and the US.