Egypt MPs discuss religious tolerance with US embassy official

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 3 Mar 2020

American diplomat Kari Paetzold praised Egypt for allowing 'citizens to exercise their religious rituals in freedom and peace'

File Photo: A general view of the Egyptian parliament during a working session (AP)

An official from the US embassy in Cairo held a meeting with Egypt parliament's religious affairs and endowments committee on Tuesday.

Kari Paetzold, who holds the post of acting political counsellor, said Egyptian-American relations have been good throughout history.

"These relations have faced several challenges at some time, but right now they are at the highest level," Paetzold said. 

She also praised the role of Egypt in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

"This is largely thanks to Al-Azhar," the official said, adding that "she highly appreciates the roles being played by the Egyptian leadership, government and people for allowing all citizens to exercise their religious rituals in freedom and peace."

A statement said the discussion between MPs and US embassy officials also focused on laws that govern religious relations in Egypt.

MP Amany Aziz said Egypt is a country of religious diversity and that "all Abrahamic religions lived on the land of Egypt for long time in a state of peace, co-existence and love."

"Egypt knows nothing about racial discrimination or sectarianism," said Aziz, adding that "she is a member of parliament's religious affairs committee although she is a Christian."

The head of parliament's religious affairs committee, Osama El-Abd, welcomed the US embassy official's visit, revealing that many draft laws are on the committee's agenda, most of them aimed at containing extremist fatwas and fighting sectarian strife and terrorism.

El-Abd said Egyptian MPs are ready to cooperate with the US embassy to spread a message of religious tolerance and world peace.

"There has been coordination between Egypt and the US on a number of important issues, particularly the fight against terrorism and extremist thought," said El-Abd, also praising the assistance Washington gives to countries which are at war against terrorism.


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