Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has called on scholars and intellectuals to "defend the reputations of Muslims worldwide by spreading the tolerant teachings of Islam."
In a speech, El-Sisi said that the "building up of human beings" and the enlightening of minds is the main pillar of progress and development.
The president called on clerics and intellectuals to exert efforts to enlighten and call upon the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, which promote working to face those who call for killing, destruction and extremism.
El-Sisi spoke during an event held to celebrate Al-Moulid Al-Nabawy; the Prophet Muhammad's birthday. The event was organised by the Ministry of Endowments and attended by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Al-Azhar's Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Mufti Shawki Allam and a number of ministers and Arab ambassadors.
El-Sisi said that Islam's message promotes peaceful coexistence between human beings and the right to life without discrimination based on colour or race.
"Our noble religion has taught us that there is no compulsion in religion and it establishes the values of tolerance and acceptance," El-Sisi said.
"It is regrettable that we have among us those who have misinterpreted [the religion] and abandoned moderate teachings to follow unchecked opinions that are not in line with the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah regarding the inviolability of human beings," El-Sisi said.
The issue of reforming religious discourse, which has been brought up by the president on multiple occasions, was also discussed during the event.
Egyptian Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said that the issue of reforming religious discourse should move forward as long as the "fixed principles" of the religion are preserved.
Earlier this month, El-Sisi said that reforming religious discourse is "one of the most important demands of Egypt and the world.”