Egypt’s president makes the pledge to Patriarch Tawadros. The Institute for Islamic Legal Research defends the right of Christians to build churches in Muslim countries. However, Copts are still discriminated in society.
Cairo (AsiaNews) – "We shall build the biggest church in Egypt in the country’s new administrative capital,” pledged Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to Coptic Patriarch Tawadros on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas.
The former general took part in the midnight Mass on 6 January, led by Tawadros. This is the third time the president goes to a church to reassure the Christian minority, which has been the victim of the violent attacks, the latest in December.
The country’s biggest mosque is also slated for construction in the new capital planned just outside of Cairo. The latter has become a necessity to reduce population pressures on the current capital.
Various political agencies and bodies as well as many ministries will move to the new city, which is expected to house at least 5 million people.
Funding for the two new religious buildings, "the largest in the country" are starting to flow. Al-Sisi himself donated 100,000 Egyptian pounds (US$ 5,300).
Egyptian business people, of all denominations, are contributing to show their support for the president’s policy and appear "patriotic" to him.
Recently, Dar Al-Iftaa, the Institute for Islamic Legal Research, issued a statement noting that it is legitimate to allow Christians to build churches in Muslim countries in accordance with the laws of each state. This shows that Islam allows laws based on the principle of equality between citizens of the same State.
Abdel-Fattah Al Sisi has been keen to present himself as a defender of Christians, without questioning the social discrimination that weighs heavy on Copts who do not have access to a number of posts and positions in the police, army or justice.