Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, came to Northeastern this spring, sharing ideas on how to ease tensions between America and the Muslim world since 9/11.

“It is an obligation to respond proactively to the tensions of our world by working actively and methodically to ameliorate them, so as to replace instability with stability, hostility with friendship, and animosity with alliances,” said Gomaa, a prolific author and a leading authority on Islamic legal scholarship.

Dialogue, he said, can break down barriers to peace, demystify religious differences, and “uncover rays of truth that get buried under the rubble of human biases and tendencies.”

“Constructive dialogue is a powerful tool in conflict prevention, management, and resolution,” Gomaa said. Spreading this culture of dialogue, he said, is the challenge, which is compounded when people take the actions of a small but visible and disruptive minority within the Muslim world to represent the beliefs of the majority of Muslims.

Denis Sullivan, a professor of political science and director of Northeastern’s Middle East Center for Peace, Culture, and Development, moderated the event, which was followed by a question-and-answer session addressing topics such as the sectors of religious authority today in Egypt and the role of women in Muslim culture.