Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Al-Azhar Grand Imam, and Pope Tawadros II, the patriarch of the See of St Mark pose for an image on Monday 8 November, 2021. Photo courtesy of the spokesman of the orthodox church Facebook page.
The Egyptian Family House was established in 2011 to promote tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
The House is the brainchild of El-Tayyeb and Pope Shenouda, Tawadros II's predecessor, after one of the deadliest terrorist attacks against Coptic Christians in Alexandria.
The bombing took place during a New Year's Eve service in 2010 at the El-Qiddissin Church and claimed the lives of 23 people and wounded 97.
In remarks during the celebration, El-Tayyeb said the idea of establishing the Family House “emerged from the womb of sorrowful challenges… the most dangerous of which were the loss of security, peace, and social stability as well as the proliferation of terrorist crimes.
"We have been fully aware that if not fought, sectarian strife would have plunged the country into a sectarian war.”
The Egyptian Family House is in charge of implementing supreme mutual values among different civilisations and religions.
Monday’s event, divided into four sessions, discussed tolerance of religious texts and their role in bolstering social peace and the effect of citizenship on endorsing coexistence.
The sessions also addressed the necessity to fight violence against women.
The Family House works with the state to protect social values and moral traditions, boost citizenship, and address challenges, Pope Tawadros II said.
“The Family House has consolidated the ideas of love and understanding of the other,” Pope Tawadros II affirmed.
The House is “the fruit of deep and well-studied understanding between Al-Azhar and the Church in order to protect Egypt and the Egyptian people against strife” that destroyed neighbouring countries, societies, and longstanding civilisations, El-Tayyeb added.
Al-Azhar and the Church understand “the duty of religious institutions to participate in national, security, and political efforts" to defeat the scheme of dividing the nation, El-Tayyeb said.
He noted that this scheme “was sponsored by foreign powers in coordination with internal powers,” without mentioning the names of these powers.
The Egyptian Family House, headquartered in Cairo, comprises Muslim scholars, clerics from the Coptic Church, representatives of various Christian faiths in Egypt, and intellectuals.
The House is meant to preserve the national unified fabric of Egyptian society and restore Islamic and Christian values, Al-Azhar said in a statement.
The entity also focuses on the mutual values between Islam and Christianity, the statement added.
The Family House also seeks to revive values of citizenship, enhance the nature of the Egyptian civilisation, and promote the culture of compassion, empathy, and tolerance.
Former interim-president Adly Mansour, state officials and figures from Al-Azhar and the Church attended the event.
Minister of Justice Omar Marwan attended the conference on behalf of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, saying the House is proof that Egypt will remain a safe nation.
“Egypt always accommodates everyone, accepts pluralism, adheres to moderation, and abides by humanitarian values,” Marwan added.