Egypt's Coptic Pope Tawadros II receives Portuguese President de Sousa at St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo

Ahram Online , Friday 13 Apr 2018

Tawadros 2
Egypt's Pope Tawadros II meets Portuguese president de Sousa in Cairo (Photo: Ahram)

Egypt's Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, met on Friday with Portuguese President Marcelo de Sousa at St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, according to a statement by the Church.

Pope Tawadros II told de Sousa that there have been unprecedented achievements made for Egyptian Christians in recent years, such as the election of 39 Christian MPs in parliament, as well as the recent passing of a law easing restrictions on building churches, and the ongoing construction of the country’s largest cathedral at the new administrative capital.

President de Sousa invited Pope Tawadros II to visit Portugal.

De Sousa also laid down flowers at the memorial for the victims of the 2016 suicide bombing at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, which is located next to St Mark’s Cathedral.

On Thursday, de Sousa visited Egypt's Al-Azhar and met with its Grand Imam Sheikh Mohamed El-Tayeb. He also visited Al-Azhar University, where he delivered a lecture on coexistence, after which he held a Q&A session with Al-Azhar professors.

The Portuguese president said during the Q&A session that Portugal supports the establishing of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

De Sousa also stressed that Portugal will not move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

US President Donald Trump recently moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which has been condemned by many major countries as a detriment to the peace process.

On Muslims in Europe, de Sousa said that Islam is part of Portugal, adding that he disagrees with European leaders who say that Islam is not part of Europe.

The Portuguese president also said that he calls on the world to fight Islamophobia.

De Sousa arrived in Cairo for a three-day-visit on Wednesday, and met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Thursday.

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