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Archbishop's letter of condolence on the death of Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi

Friday 12th March 2010

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has written a letter of condolence to the Grand Mufti of Egypt, His Eminence Dr Ali Gomaa, following the death of Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi.

The text of the letter is below:

Your Eminence

I write to offer to you, to the people of Egypt and to the wider Muslim world, my condolences on the death of Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque and head of Al-Azhar University.

Sheikh Tantawi was a wise religious leader who lived through many testing times in a difficult and challenging world where the enduring values of religious belief and practice have come under increasing challenge from within and beyond our communities. He faced those challenges with wisdom and leadership and his people will miss his presence in their midst.

Under his leadership a good foundation was laid for fruitful work together for the good of Muslim and Christian communities across the world. I was glad to have met him in 2009 and to have been able to agree with him on the continuing value of the Anglican Al Azhar Dialogue which he was instrumental in initiating. And this dialogue and the relationship established with Bishop Mouneer Anis, has led to a greater mutual understanding, appreciation and confidence.

May he rest in peace.

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