The Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Terrorism has praised Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi for speaking out against profaning religious symbols and beliefs during a press conference held earlier today with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
In a statement on Monday, the observatory expressed its appreciation for the president stressing the necessity of stopping attacks against religious symbols under the slogan of freedom of expression. It also praised the president for emphasising that expressing one’s opinion cannot be a justification for hurting the feelings of others.
The statement also lauded El-Sisi for asserting Egypt's "firm" condemnation of all terrorist acts and stressing that Muslims respect the followers of all religions.
The observatory said that El-Sisi’s remarks come at a critical time when violent crimes against Muslims in Europe are on the rise.
The Egyptian President, who is currently on a visit to France, confirmed during the briefing the need to work jointly to promote tolerance, moderation and co-existence among religions, civilisations and peoples.
Commenting on cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in France, which have recently sparked anger across the Muslim world, El-Sisi said “religious values” should be considered alongside “humanitarian values,” affirming that these drawings hurt the feelings of millions of Muslims worldwide.
“It is important that, when we express our opinion, that we do not decide that religious values be violated for the sake of humanitarian values,” he added.
“The rank of religious values is much higher, because humanitarian values are values that we have made and we can update or regulate,” El-Sisi stressed.
Macron affirmed that such caricatures are forms of individual expression and do not represent France.