Visit of Sheikh Abdellatif Deriane, Grand Mufti of Lebanon, to Germany

05/27/2015

The Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Sheikh Abdellatif Deriane, visited Berlin from 20 to 24 April on invitation of the German Federal Foreign Office and the Berghof Foundation. The delegation was headed by the Grand Mufti. He was accompanied by his senior advisors, Dr. Mohammad El Sammak and Dr. Radwan El Sayed as well as the representative of the Media and International Affairs Department of Dar al-Fatwa, Mr Khaldoun Kawas. Sheikh Abdellatif Deriane was elected in August 2014 as the new Grand Mufti. He heads Dar al-Fatwa, which is the highest religious authority that represents the interests of the Sunni community in Lebanon on the governmental level and is responsible, among others, of the administration of mosques, the education of Imams, the Sharia jurisdiction and different social institutions.

The aim of this visit was to enable political discussions between the Grand Mufti and German governmental institutions as well as with civil society initiatives on his efforts to promote tolerance and religious pluralism in Lebanon.

During his visit, the Grand Mufti and his delegation met, among others, with Secretary of State, Mr Stephan Steinlein, at the Federal Foreign Office, Vice President of Bundestag, Ms Edelgard Bulmahn, and Secretary of State Mr David Gill, Office of the Federal President. He held talks with representatives of Muslim institutions and Lebanese community members in Germany. He also met with experts and civil society organizations to exchange on ideas on de-radicalization of youth. Moreover, in his meetings with church representatives he discussed inter-religious dialogue and cooperation.

Throughout the visit, the Grand Mufti emphasized the need to strengthen inner-Sunni dialogue and promote moderate Islamic theology. He insisted on "the importance and necessity of dialogue between Lebanese in order to ensure the stability in Lebanon and help the country in overcoming the difficult circumstances it is currently going through".

Dar al-Fatwa and the Berghof Foundation signed a Letter of Intent to cooperate and support the strategy development of institutions belonging to Dar al-Fatwa to enhance stability and religious tolerance in Lebanon.