Coptic Pope and Grand Imam of Al Azhar Issue Joint Statement against Sectarian Strife in Egypt 


In response to recent Muslim-Christian tensions in Egypt, the Orthodox Coptic general bishop and secretary of Pope Shenouda III, Anba Ermia; and the president of ADIC, Dr. Aly El-Samman, coordinated with Orthodox Coptic Pope Shenouda III and Grand Imam Al-Azhar Ahmed Al Tayeb, to articulate the thoughts of these men, both of whom are strong and active believers in the values shared by their two religions.

Their resulting joint statement is a call for all parties to counteract religious intolerance with peaceful coexistence and unconditionally shared citizenship. Sectarian tension has occasionally led to violent confrontations between Egypt’s Muslim majority and Christian community. The latter is mostly Coptic Orthodox Christians.

The following is a translation of the joint statement issued on October 6, 2009. Joint Statement In line with the celebrations of the glorious victory of October, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and his friend Pope Shenouda III (Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate) issued the following joint statement concerning the tragic events that broke the hearts of all Egyptians, both Muslims and Christians.

Religions and beliefs are “red lines” that must not be crossed. We absolutely reject any statements that could be interpreted as offensive to another’s beliefs. We appeal to all Egyptians to be committed to our unity as one people, gathered in one home. We are confident that the voice of reason and conscience, the wisdom of the Egyptian people, and our historical coexistence will always counteract any seditious actions, and will succeed in ending wrongdoings and plots against peace.

May we all embrace the thoughts of President Mubarak, who made a call during a meeting with intellectuals on Thursday, to confront the “assertions of extremism and narrow-mindedness, and to preserve the national unity, as there is no distinction among the citizens of one homeland on account of creed or religion. We are all Muslims and Christians living under the flag of one nation and governed by the principle of citizenship.”

Translated from Al Ahram

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