Egypt's PM, Coptic pope attend conference on 'virtues of Islam'
Ahram Online, Saturday 28 Feb 2015
Egypt has been combating terrorism in the region ever since Islamist militancy has increased in the region as well as in Egypt in the past year and a half


Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, Minister of Endowments Mokhtar Gomaa, and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II attended on Saturday a conference on Islam, organised by the endowments ministry, as part of the state's efforts to combat the ideologies of Islamist militant insurgents in the region.

A number of Arab ambassadors and political figures also attended the conference titled "The Greatness of Islam and the Mistakes of Some Muslims", organised by the ministry's Supreme Council for Islamic State, Al-Ahram's Arabic website reported.

"We call on President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to form a unified Arab coalition to combat terrorism in the region," Gomaa said during a speech at the event.

Mahlab said that "the extremism and bloodshed that we find today is foreign" to Islam. He added that Islam mandates treating people well and respecting human rights.

The head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II, expressed his joy that the church is participating in the conference emphasising "human values" such as diversity and respect for others.

Egypt has been experiencing a spike in the number of deadly militant attacks by Islamist insurgents since Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in 2013.

Militants have attacked security forces in the Sinai Peninsula recently diversifying their tactics through setting off bombs against civilian targets.

In December 2013, Egypt's Al-Azhar University, the most respected centre of Sunni Islamic learning, sponsored a conference to educate "brainwashed" Arab youth who want to join militant groups.

In early January, El-Sisi gave a televised speech to Al-Azhar scholars in which he called for a "religious revolution" in texts and ideas that have been held sacred for hundreds of years.

The president said that radical ideas are causing "worry, danger, and destruction to the whole world."

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