PRESIDENT Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi on Monday attended the Coptic Christian mass to celebrate Christmas in the Nativity of Christ Cathedral in the New Administrative Capital.
Greeting the president at the church, the largest in the Middle East with a capacity to host 8,000 worshippers, was Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of the St Mark Diocese. The mass was attended by 11 ministers and many prominent businessmen.
“Egyptians should be united and not allow anyone to divide them,” Al-Sisi told the audience, referring to the tensions in the region. “As long as we are together, united, we should not be worried, yet we should take care of what is going on around us,” Al-Sisi said.
“No one can drag us here or there. Egypt is dealing with the world with honour at a time of no honour,” Al-Sisi added.
In the Coptic Christmas mass of 2015, Al-Sisi surprised the Copts in the Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbasiya with an appearance, the first president in Egypt’s history to attend such a religious celebration.
Copts, Egypt’s Orthodox Christians, represent more than 10 per cent of Egypt’s population.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 9 January, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.