Al-Azhar University, ICRC discuss commonalities between international humanitarian law and Islamic Sharia

(Cairo - ICRC) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Al-Azhar University, one of the world’s oldest institutions of Islamic teaching, held a seminar on the “Principles of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Commonalities with the principles of Islamic Sharia” on 22-23 April at Al-Azhar University’s campus in Cairo.

The seminar included lectures and discussions around the protection of civilians and the humane treatment of prisoners during armed conflicts from the perspectives of IHL and Islamic Sharia, with the aim of reinforcing universal acceptance of IHL and highlighting the humanitarian values and provisions of protection enshrined in Islamic jurisprudence.

The Islamic teachings align very closely with the basic principles of IHL that aim at reducing harm during armed conflicts and providing aid to those in need,” said Professor Ramadan El-Sawy, Vice President of Al-Azhar university in lower Egypt, during the opening ceremony of the seminar.

Mr. Alfonso Verdu Perez, head of the ICRC delegation in Egypt, emphasized the universality of IHL’s principles and highlighted the need to make the laws of war a priority. “IHL is the formal expression of universally shared, deeply held human values and respecting them is very important today more than ever.” Mr. Perez said. “We know for a fact that when the rules of war are respected, harm to civilians is drastically reduced and we believe that its faithful application can bolster peace initiatives in important ways,” he added. 

The seminar was attended by 85 students and 40 professors and teachers from the faculty of Sharia and Law from several governorates across Egypt.

The seminar was an opportunity for the ICRC and Al-Azhar’s scholars and students to exchange knowledge about the common principles between Islamic Sharia and IHL that aim to preserve human dignity in armed conflicts.

The seminar is part of the ICRC Egypt delegation’s ongoing cooperation with Al-Azhar. It is also part of the wider dialogue that the ICRC maintains with Islamic intellectuals and academics around the world to emphasize the common principles and values that apply to all humankind.

About the ICRC

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral, and independent organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence. It is present in more than 90 countries around the world, including Egypt, where it has been working for over 100 years.

For further information, please contact:

Nesma Nowar, ICRC Cairo, tel: 0100 0708515, email: