Vice President Faisal Naseem met on Wednesday with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, Professor Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, where the Grand Imam assured that he would offer the Maldives more short-term training, scholarship opportunities, and teachers. The Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque and University is Sunni Islam’s highest authority in jurisprudence. The Vice President is currently in Egypt to attend the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

At the meeting held in Cairo, the Vice President stated that the Maldives highly values its long-standing bonds of friendship with Egypt and shed light on the historic bonds of friendship and close cooperation between the two countries based on our shared Islamic and cultural values and historical links.

The Vice President and the Grand Imam discussed various topics of mutual interest, including higher education and human resource development, the training of imams, and the fight against violent extremism and radicalization.

The Vice President and the Grand Imam also deliberated on establishing an Arab language training centre in the Maldives with the assistance of Egypt.

The Vice President also extended gratitude to the government of Egypt for its support in the areas of socioeconomic and human resource development. He noted that Al-Azhar University has played a pioneering role in the Maldives’ education sector and has provided long-term scholarships to Maldivian students annually since the early 1980s.

The Vice President stated that the Maldives looked forward to working closely with Egypt, both bilaterally and internationally, to address radicalization. The Grand Imam also accepted an invitation by the Vice President to undertake a visit to the Maldives.