Egypt: Al-Azhar, Awqaf Delegates Visits Cathedral to Offer Christians Merry Christmas

Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Diocese received on Wednesday 2/1/2013 two delegations of al-Azhar and the Awqaf Ministry who came to extend Christmas greetings.

Al-Azhar delegation was led by Grand Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayyeb and included Egypt's Mufti Ali Gomaa and al-Azhar Secretary Abdel-Tawab Qotb.

Advisor to the Awqaf minister Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Razeq led the ministry's delegation to the Cathedral.

The delegates wished all Egyptian Christians a merry Christmas.

Pope Tawadros II and el-Tayyeb held in-camera talks that focused on the situation in Egypt, sources at the church said.

They also discussed efforts to promote the Muslim and Christian values of mercy and love.

In statements after the meeting, the Pope thanked the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar for coming to the Cathedral to extend Christmas greetings to Copts.

Al-Azhar plays an important role in Egypt as a moderate religious institution, the Pope noted.

Tayyeb said that al-Azhar is working to launch its own channel to promote moderate teachings and tolerance of Islam.

There has never been such a thing as a civil or sectarian war in Egypt, which has always been and will continue to be a safe haven, the Grand Sheikh said.

National unity should start from scholars and men of the cloth, Tayyeb said. "We're moving ahead toward that goal," he said.

For his part, Egypt's Mufti stressed the importance of exchanging talks and greetings among Egyptians, stressing, "this is in the core of Islam."

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