Egypt's Sisi is a friend of Christians because he is a good Muslim

By The Christian Post

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) greets Christians during Egypt's Coptic Christmas eve mass led by Pope Tawadros II (L), the 118th Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark Cathedral, in Cairo, Egypt, January 6, 2016. | (Photo: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

President Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s actions on fighting violent extremism, protecting religious freedom and promoting peaceful coexistence between religious communities have been courageous, substantive and increasingly effective, and the American people deserve to know that where once a group of dangerous fanatics ruled, we now have a great friend and faithful ally in Egypt. Some in the press certainly aren’t telling them.

While Radical Islamists — like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State and those ruling Iran — continue to support terrorism and promote enmity between religions, the leader of the Arab world’s most populous country is charting a path toward modernity and tolerance that is giving great hope to the country’s religious minorities which have too often been subject to discrimination or worse by extremists.

Take, for instance, the irony that on the very same evening that 60 Minutes aired a segment trying to paint the Egyptian president as one of the cruelest despots ever to reign in this part of the world, Mr. el-Sisi was actually inaugurating the largest Christian church ever built in the Middle East.

In fact, the idea for building the church was actually Mr. el-Sisi’s to begin with. In the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring and the horrific terrorist attacks by Islamists targeting vulnerable Christian communities, the Egyptian President responded in 2015 by increasing security around Christian houses of worship and by doing something of great symbolic importance that no other Egyptian leader had done before him — he attended a Christmas Eve service in Cairo alongside the Coptic Orthodox Pope.

Keep in mind, that Muslim Brotherhood extremists who briefly ran Egypt (and were in the process of running it into the ground), regularly issued fatwas declaring it immoral for Muslims to even wish Christians a Merry Christmas. It was, therefore, a profound statement for Mr. el-Sisi, a pious Muslim, to stand with the Coptic Orthodox Pope in solidarity as a fellow Egyptian.

Yet, this was just the beginning. Mr. el-Sisi also promised when he came to power that his government would rebuild every single church damaged or destroyed by the extremists — a promise he has kept.

Just stop and think about this: the most radical of the Islamists wanted to eradicate Christianity from the Middle East, something ISIS openly stated when they notoriously beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya in 2015. The Egyptian President, in turn, responded to these threats by building the biggest church that anyone had ever seen in the region, and then giving it as a gift to the 15 million Christians of Egypt, and doing so the eve of Eastern Christmas this last weekend.

This wasn’t done in a corner. The inauguration of the “Nativity of the Christ Cathedral” was broadcast live on national television. Standing at Mr. el-Sisi’s side was the Coptic Orthodox Pope and the Grand Imam of the world’s most iconic Islamic institution of higher learning, Al-Azhar. We were fortunate to attend as hosts of a Delegation of American Evangelical leaders.

Source:The Christian Post