President El-Sisi during the Mawlid Al-Nabi (Prophet Mohamed's birth anniversary) celebration held at Al-Manara International Conference Centre in Cairo on Thursday (Photo courtesy of Presidential Spokesperson)
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called on the awqaf (religious endowment) ministry and Al-Azhar to hold a conference on public affairs, stressing that men of religion should be the ones to speak about such matters.
Commenting on the speech delivered by awqaf minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa during the Mawlid Al-Nabi (Prophet Mohamed's birth anniversary) celebration held at Al-Manara International Conference Centre in Cairo on Thursday, the president called for holding a one-week symposium or conference to discuss the ideas the minister presented.
"I am not talking about men of religion only, but also politicians, economists, intellectuals and all people concerned in society. We should hold a symposium for one week, or for as much as it takes, to start a discussion on public affairs from a religious, cultural, intellectual, social or political perspective," the president said.
He called on the media to cover the event so that discussions would reach the citizens. "The event is important in order to understand the meaning of 'public affairs' because such matter is very important and critical in light of the conditions our region and Egypt are undergoing.
"We need to speak to our people in detail on various topics and give everyone the chance to speak and get their opinions heard. I hope we would move in this direction and organise such an event. I will attend it myself," he said, stressing that it should be well prepared for.
"I could have directed my remarks to the presidency to organise this event through the state bodies, but I thought that men of religion are the ones who should be speaking about public affairs," he added.
During his speech, President El-Sisi revealed that he did not intend to run for the presidency in 2014
"It is a great responsibility and huge trust on the shoulders of any president," he said, revealing for the first time that he had numerously tried to persuade former president Adli Mansour to run for president.
According to El-Sisi, interim president Mansour strongly declined.
"I believe the presidency is not related to the president or the regime. It is rather an issue of building, defending and protecting the nation and pushing it forward to a better position," he stressed, adding that the post poses a big challenge to any person, to his religion, life and afterlife.
El-Sisi added that the sayings of Prophet Mohamed were regarded as strategies that could be turned into policies, norms and traditions.
Citing an example, he said lying was against religions, referring to sharing false news on social media outlets without being aware that such lies are sins punishable by God.
"Everyday there are lies posted and shared on social media," he said.