On November 17, 2014, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received the Grand Mufti of the Syrian Arab Republic Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun in Mor Ignatius Patriarchal Center in Maarat Saydnaya. The meeting was attended by their Eminences: Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, the Patriarchal Assistant, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, the Patriarchal Secretary as well as the monks of St. Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya. The Grand Mufti was accompanied by Mr. Ghassan Al-Shami and Mr. Joseph Aswad.
His Holiness and his guest discussed the recent developments in the crisis in Syria. His Holiness emphasized that all religions call for the rejection of violence, injustice and hatred. Religions encourage their faithful to carry a message of tolerance, peace and common living among the citizens of the country. His Holiness also pointed out that national unity is the weapon with which the citizens of Syria can defend their country and defeat all foreign plans that aim to destroy Syria. The Grand Mufti, likewise, highlighted that the works of terrorism that are committed in Syria aim at the destruction of the moral values of the Syrian people and to transform the country into a battlefield where the western countries fight defending their economical interests. His Holiness invited the Grand Mufti and the accompanying delegation for a lunch banquet in their honor.