The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb expressed felicitations on Wednesday to Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II for the upcoming Christmas celebrations during a visit to the Coptic Cathedral in Abbasiya on Wednesday.
El-Tayeb urged Muslim and Christian clerics in Egypt to promote national cohesion in the face of extremism that uses false religious beliefs, according to a statement by Al-Azhar, the world’s foremost institution of Sunni Islamic learning.
Coptic Orthodox Christians, who comprise the majority of Egypt's Christians, celebrate Christmas on 7 January, almost two weeks after most Western denominations, including Catholics and Protestants, hold their celebrations on 25 December.
A number of top Muslim leaders accompanied the senior cleric during the visit.
Pope Tawadros told the grand imam that Egypt will remain undeterred by attempts to undermine the unity of the Egyptian people.
"These attempts will eventually fail," the pontiff said.
Tawadros stressed during the meeting that the unified stance of Al-Azhar and the Coptic Orthodox Church in rejecting the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital underlines the concord between the two religious entities.
"We were united [over the matter] without talking" about it, Tawadros added.