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Islamic State attempts to promote sectarian strife in Egypt: Al-Azhar observatory

Ahram Online , Monday 20 Feb 2017
Church
Egyptians and clergymen stand next to the coffins of the victims of a bomb explosion that targeted a Coptic Orthodox Church the previous day in Cairo, during their funeral in the Egyptian capital's Nassr City neighbourhood on December 12, 2016. (AFP)
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In response to a video released Sunday by the Islamic State group, Egypt's Al-Azhar observatory warned Egyptians not to fall for the video's message, which it says promotes sectarian strife between Muslim and Christians in an attempt to recreate in Egypt what has happened in Iraq and Syria.
 
In a statement on its website, the observatory called on all Egyptians to maintain national unity and not fall for such "evil" publications and propaganda.
 
The observatory said the video posted Sunday night showed footage and statements taken out of context to promote sectarian strife between Muslims and Christians in the country.
 
"The video used statements taken out of context as alleged proof of Christians' hatred towards Muslims, and employed misinterpreted Islamic scripts to promote their evil agenda," the statement read.
 
The 20-minute video titled "fight all idolaters'' purported to show the last statements of the suicide bomber who blew himself up in Cairo's St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church on 11 December 2016, killing 29 Coptic Christian worshippers, mostly women and children.
 
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing -- the deadliest attack in Egypt outside the Sinai Peninsula since 2013.
 
In 2015, Al-Azhar created the Al-Azhar observatory to respond to erroneous and extremist interpretations of Islam, especially those which promote violence. The website produces content in 10 different languages.
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