Yesterday, Thursday 1 January, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi participated in a celebration held by the [Islamic] Endowments Ministry to mark the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, Endowments Minister Mukhtar Gomaa, and Grand Imam of al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb were also present, as were a number of top officials and dignitaries, and representatives of the Coptic Church.
President Sisi gave a word in which he said that we need a see change in the religious address, in order to change misleading Islamic concepts that produce division and destruction. The question, he said, is not about religion but about erroneous concepts, so it is
necessary to develop religious discourse. He urged al-Azhar to promptly develop a religious address of moderate teachings that forbid violence and extremism. President Sisi affirmed that the State will support preachers in applying a new moderate discourse.
At the end of his word, he wished Muslims a happy Prophet’s birthday, and Copts a Merry Christmas, and called for peaceful co-existence and that both Muslims and Copts should together confront extremism.
Dr Gomaa said that 2015 will be the year of renewing the religious discourse with
a plan to face the extremist ideologies that misapprehend Islam. He announced that new year should see the establishment of a library that would include the writings of moderate lslamic and
Christians writers and intellectuals as a step to face
extremism and terrorism. Copies of such books, he said, will be given to libraries of youth centres, schools and cultural palaces.
The ministry, Dr Gomaa said, has set a programme to train imams and preachers to spread values of peace, tolerance, and non-discrimination. The programme will be executed in 10 languages, he said.